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The Icon Bar: News and features: In praise of !ShareFS

In praise of !ShareFS

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:11, 13/10/2017 |
IMHO, this is one of the most powerful (and under-rated) features of RISC OS. !ShareFS allows a RISC OS machine to share the hard drive with another RISC OS machine. There are lots of ways to share filesystems across networks (such as Samba) and cloud solutions (like PCloud, google drive). Some of these are very fiddly or do not work on RISC OS.
!ShareFS lacks the sophistication of many of these and features you might want in a multi-user environment such as fine-grained access controls. But for simple file sharing between my various RISC OS machines, it is very simple, reliable and it just works....
If you share a file system, then it becomes visible under discs. So I can easily share all my Titanium drives my RaspberryPi. It also works on emulators such as VirtualRPC.

This opens up some very useful integration because I can use VirtualRPC to access the files on other systems. For example I run it on my Mac and can use it to see the files on the Mac hard drive, including the contents of the shared google drive. This can all be seen on my Titanium thanks for !ShareFS.
So as a simple sharing solution or a way to share files between any machines you can run a RISC OS virtual machine on, !ShareFS works really well.
What part of RISC OS do you think is under-valued?
  In praise of !ShareFS
  Elesar (08:43 13/10/2017)
  CJE (17:23 13/10/2017)
  thegman (00:36 14/10/2017)
  hubersn (15:17 14/10/2017)
    arawnsley (10:31 15/10/2017)
      CJE (11:36 16/10/2017)
        svrsig (08:40 17/10/2017)
          mjprice (06:59 18/10/2017)
            richw (12:18 18/10/2017)
              davidb (15:08 18/10/2017)
Robert Sprowson Message #124183, posted by Elesar at 08:43, 13/10/2017
Posts: 11
For some more 'fine-grained access controls' you might want to look at Access+. It's the lesser used bottom entry in ShareFS' menu, and as of a few weeks ago the !Access+ application (to set up the client side) is available from ROOL again after a long absence.

You can define hidden shares, add passwords, define groups, that sort of thing.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Chris Evans Message #124185, posted by CJE at 17:23, 13/10/2017, in reply to message #124183
CJE Micros chap
Posts: 206
We are ShareFS a lot here. The only problem is writing to an older machine from a newer one e.g. a RiscPC from a RapidO Ig. Pulling the file to the RiscPC is one solution. We now find it more convenient to set the 'next' slot on the faster machine to about 250K which also makes it reliable.
Having a small next slot doesn't cause us any problems. We do use a next slot of 2MB on our RiscPCs so we can copy Floppies in one read operation, but that is not something we now do often.

The one thing I'd like is to be able to access shares over the internet e.g. The work server from home.

[Edited by CJE at 17:25, 13/10/2017]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Garry Message #124186, posted by thegman at 00:36, 14/10/2017, in reply to message #124183
Posts: 65
I'm a recent buyer of CloudFS so I can share files via pCloud on RISC OS to my PC and Mac, it's been fantastic, totally transformed my RISC OS machine to something I can realistically use for real work.

I'd never used ShareFS before CloudFS, and it's been superb.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Steffen Huber Message #124187, posted by hubersn at 15:17, 14/10/2017, in reply to message #124183
Posts: 80
If it works, ShareFS (aka Access) is ok'ish. The way the sharing works is easy, which is probably the only reason to actually use it. Having it available on most RISC OS machines out-of-the-box is a big plus.

However, it is rather slow, especially if you have to resort to the usual workarounds if you need to transfer between machines of vastly different (networking) speeds - sharefswindow and reducing the "next" slot make it more reliable, but also a lot slower.

It also sometimes gets very unreliable, and the error recovery is abysimal. The fact that it is based on UDP and does not even try to sensibly control the client's transfer speed is really a non-starter.

Sometimes, for reasons nobody seems to understand, some shares are not visible from some machines, and you have no chance to find out why because logging or error reporting is non-existent.

So it would be really great if someone could implement a new peer-to-peer file transfer system for RISC OS, which is as easy to use as ShareFS but more reliable. Or extend ShareFS with proper flow control based on TCP. And provide a ShareFS client and server for other platforms of course!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Andrew Rawnsley Message #124188, posted by arawnsley at 10:31, 15/10/2017, in reply to message #124187
R-Comp chap
Posts: 497
I think the way forward is probably to leave existing ShareFS "1.0" as-is (perhaps with added diagnostics) for compatibility with pre-existing systems, as there is a need for sharing files with older systems back to RO 3.1.

However, it could be expanded (much as Steffen suggests) with a ShareFS 2.0 protocol which would be negotiated/used with other 32bit RO systems. This would be largely independant of "1.0" except that for ease, *share would probably share discs under both protocols etc. (perhaps unless explicitly told otherwise).

Additionally, I'd suggest that rather than trying to produce ShareFS clients for other OSs (which whilst laudible, would be a pain to distribute), it might be better to include a separate SMB (or similar) server which could be auto-enabled via the ShareFS command set / UI.

This way, you could (optionally) share a disc under RISC OS via ShareFS, and have it appear in the "network neighbourhood" on PC/Mac/Linux.

Note that there have been previous attempts to do ShareFS on Windows (I have one from Roy Heslop's CTA-direct I think, circa 1997 - I forget its name). It did work, but was a bit of a pig to get running and may well not work on modern Windows builds.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Chris Evans Message #124189, posted by CJE at 11:36, 16/10/2017, in reply to message #124188
CJE Micros chap
Posts: 206
Note that there have been previous attempts to do ShareFS on Windows (I have one from Roy Heslop's CTA-direct I think, circa 1997 - I forget its name). It did work, but was a bit of a pig to get running and may well not work on modern Windows builds.
ARCshare by Brian Heslop: http://www.cjemicros.f2s.com/micros/individual/newprodpages/prodinfo.php?prodcode=BHS-ARCSHR

I've never used myself.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Chris Hall Message #124190, posted by svrsig at 08:40, 17/10/2017, in reply to message #124189
Posts: 25
it just works
provided both machines have the same netmask, overlapping netmasks is not sufficient.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Matthew Price Message #124191, posted by mjprice at 06:59, 18/10/2017, in reply to message #124190
Posts: 4
I use ShareFS constantly to share between my RISC PC, Pi and VirtualArcs.

It may lack granular control and be a bit slow at times, but it just works.

I backup my RISC PC HDD to a 120GB SATA hard drive, which is connected to my Pi via a powered USB 3 adapter. This appears on RISC OS 5.23 as SCSI::0 and ShareFS can access it.

It then appears on my RISC PC under Access or OmniClient. I use SyncDiscs to backup. Yes it is slow, but my RISC PC only has a 10Mbps NIC!

Using VirtualRPC I can access everything connected to my PC. Not just my NAS and the internal SSD, but any USB devices, floppy drives, zip drives the lot! They are then shared via ShareFS and can be accessed by my RISC PC and Pi.

Yes I use !OmniClient on the Pi and RISC PC (the bleeding edge 2017 version from ROOL works brilliantly on RISC OS 3.70!) most the time to access downloads I've run on my PC and saved to my NAS.

ShareFS has allowed me to make a single source RISC OS HDD image. My RISC PC contains everything I ever use RISC OS for and is backed up. I can then launch a fresh VirtualAcorn machine, new Pi or even connect my A3010 to the network and immediately access all my software, tools, games, documents.

I've always thought Acorn Access(+) was never given the credit it deserves. Most people think fondly of AUN and Level 4, but you don't need a Level 4 server with Access. It's truly Peer to Peer and 30 years after being released it is still being used by hundreds of users daily. Not a bad legacy.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Richard Walker Message #124192, posted by richw at 12:18, 18/10/2017, in reply to message #124191
Posts: 40
There is a free ShareFS implementation for Unix. I think it works on Linux, but I don't know for sure if it works on Mac OS X.


I tried using it between my Pi (RO5) and MacBook Pro (Mac OS X) but gave up after a few hours of fiddling.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
David Boddie Message #124193, posted by davidb at 15:08, 18/10/2017, in reply to message #124192
Posts: 125
James Woodcock is pretty much maintaining this now. He's certainly been doing all the development on it these past few years!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]

The Icon Bar: News and features: In praise of !ShareFS