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comp.sys.mac.comm FAQ (v 2.3.0) Jan 1 2002 (2/3)

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[3] Macintosh File-transfers

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
[3.1] What is the difference between a commmunication and an 
      Internet connection?

A commmunication connection was the original way home computers
remotely connected to other computers.  It basicly consisted of
a direct connection between the personal computer to the computer 
on the other end of the phone line.

Originally each communication program had its own method and 
interface but then Apple created the Communications Toolbox (CTB) 
as a standard interface for programmers writing communications 
programs.  In addition, specific "tools" that interfaced with 
modems, provided terminal emulation, or handled file transferring 
could be implemented as external add-on features to CTB-aware 

The protocals most commonally associated with commmunications
software are (in order of preferance): Zmodem, YModem, Xmodem, 
and finally Kermit.  However because it was a direct connection 
you could only do one thing at a time and the interface tended to 
be at best a Command Line Interface.

By contrast Internet connections grew out of the development of
personal computers.  Originally Internet computers were directly 
connected to each other providing information to the user via dumb 
termanals.  With the development of personal computers a need to 
allow dial in connections developed with SLIP and PPP (see [5.3]) 
being the result.   These additional protocals allowed personal 
computer users to use such Internet protocals as FTP, Gopher, and 

Most importantly via PPP Internet connections allowed multiple 
connections through one modem allowing the user to perform several 
tasks at once.  Due to this multifunction ability continued development 
of communication programs has fallen off in favor of the more robust
Internet programs though they are still the best way to connect to 
a local BBS.

Since support for Internet connections was rolled into the MacOS
beginning with System 7.5 it has become the defacto way to link a 
personal Mac to the outside world.

[3.2] What communication programs are available?

This is a short list of shareware/freeware and commercial communication
programs from the orginal list that are still available.  As a matter
of practicality only those programs that have been written or updated
since 1993, support at least three of the standard protocols (Kermit, 
Xmodem, YModem, and Zmodem), and either are available or have web pages 
are listed.

BN:   Black Knight 1.0.7, $30 shareware,
      Raine Storm softworks <>
MT:   MacToPic Plus, $195, site licenses available, Carnation Software,
PT:   ProTERM 1.5, $69.95 commercial, 30 day free trial,
      InTrec Software <>      
VT:   VersaTerm and VersaTerm Pro 5.0.6, $145 and $195 respectively
      Synergy Software <>
ZT:   ZTerm 1.0.1, $30 shareware, $40 with disk, Dave Alverson,

Shareware/freeware communications programs can be found in the
/info-mac/comm/term directory of any Info-mac mirror.

Table 3.1.1 summarizes file transfer capabilities of various Macintosh
telecommunications programs.

          |       Programs
Protocols | BN MT PT VT ZT
XMODEM    |  X  X  X  X  X
YMODEM    |  X  X  X  X  X
ZMODEM    |  X  X  X  X  X
Kermit    |     X  X  X  X
QuickB    |              X
B Plus    |              X
CTB tools |  X        X  X
FTP       |     X        X

               Table 3.1.1

Table 3.1.2 summarizes the terminal-emulation capabilities of various
Macintosh communications programs and Table 3.1.3 summarizes the
scripting capabilities of various  Macintosh telecommunications programs:

          |    Programs                      |     Programs
Terminals | BN MT PT VT ZT        Scripting  | BN MT PT VT ZT
---------------------------       ----------------------------
TTY       |     X  X  X           Recording  |  X     X  X
VT52      |        X              If/Else    |     a  X
VT100     |  X  X  X  X  X        Loops      |     a  X
VT102     |  X     X  X           FileOps    |     a  X
VT220     |  X        X           Arithmetic |     a  X
PC/ANSI   |  X     X     X        Variables  |     a  X     X
Tek 4010  |           X           User Input |     a  X
Tek 4014  |           X           Key Remaps |  X  *  X
Tek 4105/7|           P           Arrays     |     a  X
DG210/211 |           X           Wait/Send  |  X     X  X
CTB tools |  X                    AppleScript|  X     b
Controls  |  X     X     X
Viewpoint |     X  X             a = capability is accessible
Wyse 50   |     X                    through AppleScript
Prism     |     X
Televideo |                      b = script commands can be fed to
      910 |        X                 the program via AppleScript
      925 |        P     
      950 |        P             * Allows programmable
HeathktH19|        X               function keys
LSIADM3a/5|        X
PTSE/A2   |        X

           Table 3.1.2                        Table 3.1.3

[3.3] What Internet programs are available?

The desire to get on the Internet has produced dozens of such programs 
many of which are listed at The Mac Orchard web page
<>. To help the fledgling Internet user I am
listing the most commonly used programs below:

     Eudora <> is perhaps the best written and 
     most popular e-mail program available for the Macintosh. Eudora
     is a complete and versatile e-mail package which can send e-mail
     via SMTP (see [5.4]) and receive e-mail via a POP server. It can 
     even be used with UUPC 3.0 (as a mail reader and message generator, 
     not a transport agent). Eudora can also be used to transfer
     arbitrary Macintosh files between computers through its BinHex 4.0
     attachment features. Many accolades go to the author, Steve Dorner.
     Hank Zimmerman maintains the comp.mail.eudora.mac FAQ which can be 
     found at <> and the [Unofficial] Eudora 
     Web Site can be found at <>

FTP clients
     The two most popular MacOS FTP clients are Interarchy (formally 
     known as Anarchie) and Fetch.
     Interarchy is shareware and has a home site at
     <> and <>
     Fetch 4.1 is also shareware and has a home site at 
     Two releatively newer FTP clients are Vicomsoft FTP 
     and NetFinder
     All Mac newsreaders make use of NNTP (see [5.4]).
     Newswatcher (2.2.1) by John Norstad and its close sister 
     Multi-Threaded NewsWatcher (currently Version 3.1.0) by Simon 
     Fraser are likely the most popular online Newsreaders.
     For offline browsing MacSOUP 
     by Stefan Haller is likely the most popular.
     The two most popular browsers are Netscape and MicroSoft Internet 
     Explorer both of which support frames and other Internet goodies.
     The most recent versions (6.0.1 and 5.1 respectively)
     can be found at <> and 
     MacOS X has at its heart UNIX which means in theory the old
     UNIX utilities like rn, tin, pine, ssh, and FTP server would be 
     available via the terminal program. stated that 
     at least ssh is included in the public beta.     
[3.4] What is Telnet, and what MacOS Telnet Programs are there?

Telnet is a high speed terminal connection protocol designed with TCP/IP 
in mind. A Telnet program allows you to connect to computers that accept 
Telnet sessions (such as UNIX boxes) with interactive full-screen
console input and output capabilities.

There are several Telnet programs for the Macintosh.

NCSA Telnet and succesors (BetterTelnet and MacTelnet)
     The most widely known and used is the freeware NCSA Telnet
     for which developement stopped January 1, 1996.  The last 
     'offical' version was 2.6 though there is a 2.7b4 available.
     There are serveral succesor programs which improve on the
     NCSA Telnet code.
     One such freeware successor is Sassy Software's BetterTelnet 
     (Version 2.0fc1) <> 
     which uses the 2.7b5 code and provides many bug fixes, an 
     improved interface, and additional features. Both of these 
     programs support TEK 4105 graphics, provide both an FTP server 
     *and* client, and can do session logging. About the only drawback 
     is that these programs use Classic rather than Open Transport
     MacTelnet <> is another such 
     program and one of the few that is MacOS X ready.  Still in the
     alpha stage of development.
     dataComet <> is both the oldest
     (1986 as Cornell TN) and longest supported MacOS Telnet
     application.  This shareware application supports PC-ANSI,
     VT220, & TN3270 terminal emulation, as well as serial
     connections and communications protocols (including ZModem) 
     and suuports both 68K and PPC machines.

Nifty Telnet
     Nifty Telnet <>
     is a freeware Telnet program that supports Kerberous encrypting
     (US version only), has a clean interface, and is Open Transport
      $69.95 commercial program by InTrec Software 
      <> with a 30 day free trial
      that also supports a communiction connection (see 3.2)
     If you need to telnet to an IBM mainframe this program at 
     version 2.5b5 this makes tn3270 more enjoyable.
[3.5] What's the best compression program to use when uploading files
      to an archive? Are there any other guidelines I should

Best Compression: (Revised 01/2002)
---- -----------

The shareware program DropStuff (and its commercial sibling, StuffIt 
Deluxe) is generally regarded as providing the best compression 
performance of the many Macintosh compression utilities.  StuffIt 
Deluxe has a fancy user-interface while DS has a very simple interface.
StuffIt Lite (free Stuffit Expander along with the shareware DropStuff, 
DropTar, and DropZip) seems to be the most comprehensive shareware package 
currently available for handling files.  
There is one special issue to be aware of though; StuffIt Expander 
(and Deluxe) does not seem to look -within- formats for the Macbinary 
format.  As a result non-mac archive formats that have had Macbinary 
added -internally- to support the two fork Mac format ([2.4b]) do not 
always decompress properly resulting in the resource fork information 
being corrupted or loss.  Fortunitly there are very few Mac files archived 
in this manner but considering I ran into this situation myself I though 
it best to alert people to the situation.

The closest rival to the Stuffit programs was Compact Pro but it has
two problems: 1) it has not been updated since April 1995 and 2) it
cannot decompress the Deluxe .sit formats.  As a result StuffIt has 
become the defacto king of Mac compression.

Posting Macintosh Programs: (Revised 08/2001)
------- --------- --------

You should use either DropStuff or StuffIt Deluxe to compress 
Macintosh files you send to anonymous FTP sites and Web sites. 
While MacBinary internal versions of zip and LZH exist
it is better to stick with sit for Mac files.  Zip and LZH
should at best be used for data fork only files intended for
all computers.

Regardless of which archiver you use, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE AN ARCHIVE 
YOU ARE POSTING SELF-EXTRACTING!  The convenience of self-extracting 
archives is not worth the space they waste at anonymous-FTP sites and 
Web sites (where literally thousands of compressed files are stored) and
the problems they create on other platforms. Self-extracting archives 
are useful in other contexts, but should be discouraged as a medium 
for posting to archives.

Before you create your archive, set the Finder label of all
files you plan to include in the archive to 'None'.
Avoid using strange punctuation marks in filenames that you will 
distribute. Characters such as exclamation points, spaces, dollar 
signs, etc, are legal characters in Macintosh filenames but can be 
difficult to work with on non-Macintosh systems (where most Macintosh 
archives are stored). Since all current mac specific formats store the
original Macintosh filename changing the same of the archvie file does
not change the files inside it.

After you have created the archive and named it appropriately, BinHex 
encode it (see [2.3]). Preface the resulting text file a short
description of the archive you want to distribute, including any 
system requirements and problems.  Do not bother with a signature.
Finally, upload the text file (if necessary) and e-mail it to  Your subject line should specify a suggested 
name with a suggested location in the text file.
              Subject: myfile-215.hqx

Mailing your archive to macgifts automatically submits it to the
InfoMac archive and its active mirrors.

[3.6] How can I transfer Macintosh files to/from my Macintosh and
      other non-Macintosh computers (eg: mainframes, UNIX boxes, PCs)?

Regardless of whether you are using a communications or Internet
program the procedure you should follow will be the same.  First the 
file should be compressed with StuffIt and then binhex encoded.  Some 
programs like Eudora will do the binhexing for you so you can skip 
the encoding step.

The reason you will want to use Binhex rather than MacBinary as your
encoding format is that Binhex is useable in the 7-bit only areas of 
the Internet like Usenet and E-mail that MacBinary cannot go.

For Internet programs downloading a file is very simple.  For systems
or programs that do not support Drag and Drop you simply click (or
double click) on the file and it is downloaded for you.  Drag and Drop 
aware programs allow you to drag the file to the desktop which results 
in it being downloaded.  Uploading varies from program to program and 
some FTP sites only allow files to be E-mailed.  Consult your program 
and destination site documentation for the proper procedures.

Communication downloading and uploading is a little more complicated.
This is because the remote computer is usially running a totally
different OS that the Mac user must interact with.  As a result the 
remote computer must be first be told that a file is being sent 
or received and then the Mac commmunications program told the 
same thing.

Since Unix shell accounts were the most common remote OS they are
used as example but it should be noted that many BBSes use a different
interface and therefore different commands.

For a unix shell account the command consists of two parts:
     % method filename
'Filename' is the name of the file on the remote machine and 'method'
is the protocal and whether the file is being sent or received.

The methods are generally as follows:
            Kermit      XMODEM      YMODEM       ZMODEM
            -------     ------      ------       ------
sending     kermit        sx          sb           sz
receiving   kermit        rx          rb           rz

As one goes from left to right in the chart above the protocal's speed
increaces.  As a result as early as 1994 some communication programs
were not supporting Kermit.  With Internet connections becoming more
accessable communication software and its protocols are rapidly fading 
into the mists of history.

[3.7] Is there a newsgroup for mac binaries?

Yes there is; it is called comp.binaries.mac.  But due to the nature
of Usenet it has become impractical to post today's larger MacOS 
programs.  In any case this is the *only* proper mac newsgroup to post 
a MacOS program binary.

Any as explained in section [2.2] any MacOS program intended for 
comp.binaries.mac must be in BinHex 4.0 format following the
step described in section [3.5].

As far downloading what few programs do appear on comp.binaries.mac
use a NewsWatcher baced newsreader and simply select extract binaries.
This will do the tedious task of joining up a multipart binary for you.

Otherwise there is not much reason to bother with comp.binaries.mac.

[4] Networking basics

[4.1] What are AppleTalk, LocalTalk, Ethernet, EtherTalk, TCP/IP, etc?

When attempting to describe networking terms, a distinction should be 
drawn between networking _protocols_ (such as AppleTalk and TCP/IP)
and networking _hardware_ (such as LocalTalk, Ethernet, and TokenRing).
In most cases, a specific protocol can be used over more than one 
hardware medium.

In order to help understand the interaction of these disparate parts
in a real-world network, we can adopt the useful analogy of multi-layer
cake with the physical wire at the very bottom and the software which 
you are running at the very top.

Thus, we can think of LocalTalk, Ethernet and TokenRing as being the
layers at the bottom, AppleTalk and TCP/IP in the middle and programs 
like NCSA Telnet, NFS/Share and Netscape at the top.

The following terms describe protocols (software descriptions) common
to the Macintosh networking world:

     A proprietary suite of protocols developed by Apple Computer,
     Inc. that provides for near-transparent network connections 
     between Macintosh computers. However, over the years AppleTalk has 
     been ported to other OSes including UNIX, VMS and DOS.
     Questions about the AppleTalk protocol are probably best posed
     in the newsgroup comp.protocols.appletalk.    

EtherTalk and TokenTalk
     The drivers which allows AppleTalk protocols to be transported
     by Ethernet and over IBM TokenRing networks respectively.

     A suite of protocols developed by the Defense Advanced Research 
     Projects Agency (DARPA) whose purpose is multi-platform
     connectivity.  TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control 
     Protocol/Internet Protocol, because these are the two most 
     widely used protocols in the suite. However, TCP/IP includes the 
     User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), 
     Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP) and others. TCP/IP 
     drivers are available for almost all of the computer platforms 
     in use today, including micros, minis, main-frames and 

The following terms describe hardware (the physical link such as the 
wire(s) connecting computers) common to the Macintosh networking

     One type of hardware over which AppleTalk protocols can be 
     transported. LocalTalk has a throughput of 230.4 Kbps 
     second, or roughly a quarter of a Mbps.
     Another type of hardware commonly used to transport AppleTalk
     packets. PhoneNet mates LocalTalk hardware with ordinary 
     (unused) telephone wire. PhoneNet is probably the cheapest way 
     to connect widely separated Macintosh computers within a single 
     A network medium over which AppleTalk, TCP/IP and other
     protocols travel, often simultaneously. Ethernet's maximum 
     throughput is 10 Mbps. FastEthernet offers 100 Mbps.
     A network medium developed (and patented) by IBM based on a
     topology of a ring of nodes connected serially by a single cable. 
     Each node, or computer, speaks on the cable only when it has 
     posession of a token. TokenRing technology can demonstrate 
     throughputs of ranging from 4 to 16 Mbps.
[4.2] What are the network methods of the Mac OS?

The three methods that the MacOS has used are: Classic, Open Transport, 
and Unix-based.

Classic Networking is the name given to the method used originally in 
the MacOS.  Originally the MacOS's only native protocolwas AppleTalk and 
anything else had to be added on.  In addition thanks to the AppleTalk 
Manager (which resided in the ROM of most 68K Macs) AppleTalk got 
privileged access.  As a result network software developers not only 
had to write each and every non-AppleTalk protocol they wanted to use 
but they had to contend with AppleTalk.  Apple improved things with the 
addition of the Communications Toolbox which made adding protocols and
methods somewhat easier but it still was a hassle and not all programs
used the Communications Toolbox. After Open Tranport came out this 
method became known as Classic Networking (not to be confused with the 
Classic enviroment In MacOS X).

Open Transport was Apple's first complete revision to the MacOS's
network system software.  Interegrated into the MacOS with 7.5.3 
Open Transport changed the situation that had existed with 
Classic Networking by using industry standard Application Programing 
Interfaces (APIs) Not only did the APIs eliminate the need for 
developers to reinvent the wheel but they put all the protocols on 
an equal standing. In addition Open Transport is Power Mac native 
resulting in speed ups in both AppleTalk and TCP/IP.  While
Open Transport did in theory back support Classic Networking it 
didn't change the fact that programs written specifially for one 
Network method didn't work that well (if at all) with the other.

Unix-based networking is part of Darwin 'the under the GUI hood'
section of MacOS X.  From what I have read since Darwin has 
neworking APIs built in and Open Transport still had a few
non-stadard aspects to it (MacAddict Feb 2001) it made little 
sence to port Open Transport to MacOS X.  Due to the its age 
it is iffy that programs written only for Classic Networking 
will work under MacOS X.  

So read the documentation of any networking software you plan to use
to make sure it is compatable with your networking method and OS.

[4.3] How can I change the Chooser "user" and name of my Macintosh?
      Also: Why can I no longer change the name of my hard-disk?

To change the owner and name of your Macintosh under System 7, select 
"Controls Panels" from the Apple Menu and double-click on the
"Sharing Setup" Control Panel.
The Chooser "user" is the "Owner name:". Change it like any standard 
edit field. The name of your Macintosh is the "Macintosh name:".
Also on this Control Panel is a button to turn File Sharing on and 
off. When File Sharing is on, you cannot change the name of shared 
disks. If you are trying to change the name of your hard disk but 
cannot get the name to turn into an edit field, File Sharing is 
probably on. Use the Sharing Setup Control Panel to turn File Sharing 
off, change your hard disk name, and then turn File Sharing back on 
(unless you have no need for it).

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