Using NFS on Mac OS

Disclaimer: This is one of those tech articles.

It’s not that I hate windows, I mean I did get an MCSE and everything… its just that I find linux and mac vastly better.

It’s a religious war, and I choose not to preach my choices to you. Mine works for me… whatever works for you is A-OK by me.

Anyway… this post is about NFS.

What is NFS?

NFS is the acronym for Network File System — brought to you by the friendly folks at Sun Mircosystems. The quick twitter definition?

NFS allows systems to share files and directories across a network.

As far as you’re concerned, it’s a local resource — in reality it’s on a network resource. NFS brings it to you fast and easily.

Many choices out there… I like NFS.

For my needs, we have several clients running Mac OS and Ubuntu. We share resources on a CentOS box. This box sets up the resources, and the others connect as clients.

Server Set-Up

Setting up on CentOS is simple:

yum install nfs-utils nfs-utils-lib
chkconfig nfs on
service nfs start

Simple as pie.

You’ll then want to allow clients to connect. This is controlled by the /etc/exports file and formatted as resource / client.

vi /etc/exports (or nano if you're that way about it)

Note: You can use whatever options you want. Here rw allows read/write access, no_root_squash allows root connection, no_subtree_check reduces security but can increase reliability, and insecure is needed for our crazy Mac OS connections.
There’s a lot to learn about these options… but this is quick overview time.

exportfs -a (whenever you make changes to /etc/exports

Mac OS NFS Client

There’s 1000 ways to kill a cat… I find it easiest to connect Mac OS to an NFS resource via the disk utility.

  • Open Disk Utility, and from the File menu, select NFS Mounts
  • Create a new mount, using nfs://SERVER/resource. For example:
  • For the mount location, select a location of your liking, I used Volumes, such as
  • Click advanced and add the following:
  • Click Verify

That’s it.

Simple as pie. =)

By Fred Posner

Fred Posner provides VoIP consulting services through The Palner Group and In 2010, Fred and his wife, Yeni Monroy, opened Bearkery, in Gainesville, Florida. Contact Fred at Even better, make Yeni happy and buy a cookie!

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