[OpenAFS] AFS clients for OSX/Darwin

Ben Poliakoff benp@reed.edu
Fri, 21 Apr 2006 13:02:57 -0700

Is anyone willing to discuss the relative merits and failings of Arla
and OpenAFS on OSX (and the future of AFS for OSX)?  I know this list
is specific to OpenAFS, but I don't see an obvious forum or list for
discussing non-vendor specific AFS client issues (given that the
info-afs list seems to be dormant).  I'd be very happy to take a
redirect if anyone knows of a better forum for these topics.

My casual investigations over the past couple of years seem to indicate
that Arla for OSX presents some distinct advantages over OpenAFS.  The
two most notable ones are:

    - it seems to handle IP address changes (and transitions from
      wired to wireless ethernet) more gracefully than OpenAFS

    - it has some (albeit primitive) Finder support for ACL display/
      editing whereas OpenAFS does not

Is anyone aware of whether or not there are plans for the OpenAFS port
for OSX/Darwin to address these issues?  

The first issue is big for mobile clients (laptops). I've never been
able to configure the OpenAFS client for OSX to be as "resiliant" to
changes in network connectivity (-dynroot and -fakestat, while useful,
don't address the issue).  With Arla or the Windows client one can
unplug a wired ethernet connection, and continue operations via an
available wireless connection.  When I try that with the OpenAFS client
for OSX I get timeouts and spinning beachballs in the Finder.

The second issue is big for "useability" by non command line types.
It's hard to pitch AFS as a general purpose technology if some of its
best features aren't readily accessible to end users.

Neither OpenAFS or Arla seem to have any sort of dynamic trigger for
"authentication upon access" (i.e. launching an authentication dialog
when accessing files under /afs).

My Mac heavy institution is investigating the use of AFS as the primary
network file service for end users (replacing netatalk and samba).  With
the proper amount of love/funding Arla *or* OpenAFS for OSX could be
very pleasant for the end user!  The Windows OpenAFS client is really
excellent with regard to the aformentioned issues, it would be great for
the OSX client to get some feature parity.

Thoughts, discussion?