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I'm using System 6!

Preface

Just because you run your Mac on System 6 (any model from the Mac Plus to the Mac II series can do so), that doesn't mean you can't hook your Mac to a network. Many people prefer to run their older Macs on System 6 because of its small RAM requirements and the fact that it's free. Although a System 6 Mac has some network limitations (relative to System 7 and above), you can add it to a LocalTalk qm_icon picture (or even Ethernet qm_icon picture) network with little difficulty.

Caution!

One of the main differences between System 6 and 7 is the integration of networking. In 7, any Mac can both share files to, and access files on, the network. In System 6, however, the standard installation only lets you see other files, not share any of your own. Fortunately, this isn't a huge problem, since most people use System 7 or later on their file servers. Aside from this, accessing a network in System 6 is much like accessing it in any others; you use the Chooser to load network volumes or printers and access them with the Finder. Make sure to use System 6.0.8, which you can download for free from the Apple website. When you run the installer, make sure to include the AppleTalk software as part of your installation. To make sure it's selected, choose customize from the install options and highlight both the AppleShare and Responder software.

System 6 and LocalTalk

Using LocalTalk with System 6 is as straightforward as using it with later Mac OS versions. The System 6 installation disks include all the AppleTalk software you need, so you only need to hook the Mac up to a network using a serial cable or LocalTalk adapter and you're ready to go. Refer to the "networking scenarios" section for the relevant instructions.

System 6 and Ethernet

Using Ethernet with System 6 is a little trickier than LocalTalk, since only certain Ethernet adapters have software that supports it. If you already have an adapter for your Mac, you need to find out if it can support System 6. Usually you can find this information in the adapter's manual or on company's website. If you can't find it, send the company an email; since they probably don't sell too many of their older products anymore, they may have just removed the information from their website.

If a given product does support System 6, it's probably through older versions of their software. You may also have to contact the company to locate these older versions, for the same reason mentioned above. If you can't locate a working version through the manufacturer, but you think it existed at one point, you can try throwing a question out to one of the Mac newsgroups; someone out there may already be running the setup you're trying for.

Ethernet products that support System 6

If you have an older Mac that you want to add to an Ethernet network, but don't know where to start looking for adapters, the following list should help you get going. Note that some of these products aren't manufactured anymore, so you may need to do a fair amount of searching and/or settle for a used adapter with no warranty.

Asante

MacCon

Type: Nubus card, PDS card
Part #: [various]
Price: [various]
Notes: These cards support Macs as old as the SE. There is diagnostic software for these cards that runs under system 6.0.8, so I assume the cards must also.

Dayna

Pocket SCSI

Type: SCSI adapter
Part #:
Price: Look for a used one
Notes: A SCSI-to-Ethernet adapter that will work for any Mac with a SCSI port.

SCSI/Link-3

Type: SCSI adapter
Part #:
Price: Look for a used one
Notes: A SCSI-to-Ethernet adapter that will work for any Mac with a SCSI port.

Still not working?

Problem still not solved? Questions linger? If so, please send mail and I'll do my best to help out. I try to answer all mail with 24 hours, although it can take longer if the answer requires some research.

Contents of Three Macs & a Printer are ©1996-1999 Matthew Glidden (except for the bits that aren't).

Questions or feedback? Feel free to send mail.

[This page was last updated on 3/7/99; 2:06:45 PM.]



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