Cory Wiegersmais creating Vintage Compatible Mac Server
Select a membership level
You can support VTools. You get read-only access to the server, but want to help pay for electricity and upgrades. Your name or handle will also be listed on the VTools web site as a supporter.
Full access to VTools! You get a personal file storage space, a personal web space, and an email account, all of which you can use on your vintage computer. Your name or handle will also be listed on the VTools web site as a supporter.
My name is Cory, I help run a web forum for vintage Macs at https://68kmla.org/forums/.
The thing I'm fundraising for at the moment is a project I've wanted to do for a long time. I run a modern centralized server for myself and a few of my friends, but after pulling some of my vintage machines back home, I realized I needed something to address the needs of the older machines I have at home. Time has moved on from these machines enough that I can't reasonably run my server for both my modern machines and my vintage ones, the way I could ten years ago.
This need isn't unique to me: as I browse around and see what people are writing about vintage Macs, I see that one of the biggest issues people have is how to get files - whether that's programs or any other data - on and off of their machines, and where to put it.
I hope to help solve part of that problem.
VTools is a project I've long wanted to do. I'm in a place where I can start working on it!
The name is a play off of the Apple product iTools. VTools will offer several of the same services, compatible with Macs running Mac OS 7.5.5 through 9.2.2, along with other systems.
- Public read-only file shares for common data
- Individual home directory for personal files
- Personal web space
- Email, on the domain vtools.68kmla.org
The intent is to solve the problem of getting access to resources for these machines and to make it easier to transfer data between different vintage machines and modern machines.
The solution I came up with is that I found a Power Macintosh G4 for sale locally. Probably the best $16 I've spent in the past year. I've long been interested in "small business" types of networking and server solutions, so the first thing I did was put AppleShare IP 6 on it, at which point I realized that I could easily share it with others.
The file server space is usable via FTP and via the AppleShare IP protocol, and should work well with Macs running system 7.5.5 through 9.2.2, as well as any computer with an FTP client. Depending on the suitability to FTP to your particular needs, this should mean the machine might be reasonable for use with other, non-Mac systems, but I am not making any guarantee on this front.
Unfortunately, buying parts and updated bits for the machine in order to fill it with data people might want, the act of acquiring that data, electricity to run it, it's share of my Internet usage, and the act of administering the machine is all time and effort.
The money from this campaign, will go into, in no particular order:
- SATA cards (eventually four of them) to connect the fastest, largest possible disks the system can use
- 2TB SATA disks (these are the largest and fastest disks this system can use)
- A new ATX case better suited for all those disks
- A new power supply, probably higher wattage
- A pre-built ATX power adapter for the G4 motherboard
- A new UPS or a used UPS with software and cables that works with Mac OS 9, and new batteries for it
- Pocketable 2TB External hard disks for removable backups
- The power the machine uses
- The machine's portion of my home Internet connection, which is a "business" connection reasonably suited to this kind of work.
Because some of these costs are recurring and some of them should only happen once, I'm not going to be using "goals" heavily.
The machine is not currently "done" - it's in a state I've been calling Trial Phase 1. In this state, I made a mistake configuring the server's "owner" account, the shares have names I'm not sure are final, and mail isn't available.
At some point, probably after I get the first SATA card and one or two disks, I will reinstall the OS of the machine and it will enter Trial Phase 2. The machine will be configured in a way that better respects the other people using it, my personal account will not be the machine's owner-administrator account, and any other administrators who get assigned to it will have separate user and administrator accounts.
At this point, all current accounts on the machine will need to be re-built.
In this phase, mail will be ready, but I won't turn it on immediately.
Once I get everything set up comfortably, I will be enabling automated backups and making sure the machine runs well and backups complete in a reasonable time. The schedule for these backups will be posted here as well as on the machine's home page, because tenatively, the machine's services will be unavailable while the backups run.
Once that is stable, I will enable email services.
If, at this point, everything is working well, the initial configuration for the machine will be "done" and it should be considered, to the extent possible for 20-year-old software and hardware, to be stable, save for any further hardware or software configuration changes I need to make.