[BE network picture] Setting up an Atari to PC NFS link

To an e-mail of : Gerry O'Rourke / 16 Aug 1997
1 st HTML conversion by Anthony Jacques


If you are interested in setting up a Networked File System (NFS) between an Atari & a PC clone, then read on. As a by product, you also get a working PPP link. There is significant effort involved if you don't already have a working Mint set-up & still some work needed if you don't have a KGMD (UNIX like) set-up.

[BE users picture] Disclaimer

  I am not a PC/UNIX/MiNT/MiNTnet/NFS guru, I just read a lot of doc & readme files, did a lot of experimentation, searched the net. I understand enough to get going.

None of the software/programs that I mention in this file are mine & I have no connection with any of the authors/owners.

There may be other or better ways of doing this, I'd be pleased to hear about them. I may even be doing all this the wrong way, consider this document as how 'I' got it working.

I only have an STFM, but this should also work on STE's,Mega STE's, Falcons & TT's. Don't know about clones or accelerated Atari's, but if it has a serial port, then maybe yes.

Some of the PC programs are shareware/crippleware, if you find them useful, then pay for them. To the best of my knowledge, all of the programs were placed freely on the Internet by their owners.

I am assuming you know something about PC's, I only want to give a step by step account where it's important. You should be comfortable with program installation & reasonably familiar with the various bits of Win95. Of course, you are probably an Atari user.

Any text in this file enclosed in quotes (like 'this'); don't type the ' bits.

I can't be responsible if some of the programs fail to work as expected or do something really bad to your system, but I am prepared to offer help to those who are having trouble. I'm not a Win95 expert though, but this guide should be enough to get the Win side working. The Atari side is usually well documented.

I hope I've explained everything clearly, but if you are unsure, ask me, ask somebody who knows. Ask for help on the Atari ST newsgroups, the people there are genuine & helpful. There are several PC newsgroups, even newsgroups dedicated to PPP.

My machines are not on the internet, I have no network card in the PC.If yours does, you may change some setting which may affect network operations. I can't help much here, except to caution you that keeping backups of your registry (use Microsoft's ERU) is a good idea.

In fact a full system backup is a good idea before you start anything, both for the Atari & PC.

Please don't alter this file; if you read a serious error somewhere here, e-mail me or post a warning on the ST newsgroups.


[device picture] Environment

  Atari Side :

Most packages are available at nic.funet.fi.

All of the above (some slightly out of date) are available in one package called Knarf's German MiNT Distribution (KGMD for short). There is an english translation called KEMG_r2 (Knarf's English MiNT Distribution release 2) available. You need both KGMD & KEMD_r2 for the full install.

KGMD is available on nic.funet.fi in the /pub/atari/mint/KGMD folder. Read the file KGMD.txt & get whichever parts you will need (at least Basic,Net,Install,Manual & Tools). KEMD_r2.zip is here also.

If you do not have a good UNIX like set-up on your atari, I would recommend installing KGMD/KEMD, then getting the updated MiNT, MiNTnet & NFS versions I used.

If you already have a system you are comfortable with, at least get the latest versions of MiNTnet & NFS.

Decide on an IP address for your Atari, read the notes that came with MiNTnet as a guide.

PC side :

A PC with Win 95 installed is a must.

Check which version of windows you have. 4.00.950 is very common. There are upgrade files that will improve some of the networking components + fix bugs.

The most useful is called 'service pack 1'. Also useful, the 'System Updates' pack. Get them from http://www.microsoft.com/windows95/info/updates.htm.

Also, if you only had the floppy disk win95 version, get the DUN scripting addition, might be useful later.

Decide on an IP address for your PC, read the notes that came with MiNTnet as a guide.

Hardware :

  • Serial cable, null modem type.

[modem + globe picture]Setting up NFS

  I am assuming you have an Atari that is running a KGMD style set-up. The PC has to have win 95; Win 3.11 or older will not work.

Install any upgrades to Win95 that you downloaded.. Problems here may prevent the NFS from working, so make sure everything goes right.

PC software set-up

NFS client.

NFS server.

Install both these programs by following the instructions that come with the files.

PC NFS Client setup

Configure omnilite by running the 'hostedit' program in the omnilite group under the start menu.

Select the add option and type in the Atari's hostname (remember, you set this when you installed MiNTnet). Leave the 'host list through NIS' box unchecked.

Type the Atari's IP address in the 'HostIP' box. Leave the 'Resolved by Domain Name Server' box unchecked. Select next.

Repeat this for a host called 'localhost', with the IP address

Repeat this for a host called 'loopback', with the address

Select exit.

That operation created a file called 'HOSTS' in your windows directory.

Run the program called 'NFS Client' (found in the Omnilite folder under start).

A window will appear with a list of drives on the left, starting with the next available free PC drive.

Click on a drive, select 'define'. A dialog box appears. select 'browse' & choose the atari host. In the 'mount path' box type the Atari drive you want to mount, eg Atari drive C would be entered as /c

Click ok.

Select 'options'. Leave 'buffer' at default, uncheck 'cache off', uncheck 'auto DOS to UNIX conversion'.

Select 'No Locking' under the 'NLM file locking'.

Check all of the 'file attributes'.

Click ok.

Select the 'UID & GID' button for 'Authenticated by' option. Type 0 in both the UID & GID boxes.

Check 'auto mount'.

Click ok.

The 'NFS Client' window should have a line like this...

Drv Currently mounted   mount path  auto mounted
H                       \\STFM\c    yes
Where 'STFM' is your Atari's hostname.

Repeat procedure for as many drives as you wish to mount on the ST side. Select 'exit' when finished.

PC NFS Server setup

Use notepad to edit the file called'exports' in the tropics directory.

Add in the drives you wish to export, eg. drive 'C' would be added as C:/

Save the file.

[modem + globe picture]Setting up the network

  WARNING :If your PC is on a network, you may have some of the following already in place. I would be wary of changing anything to do with installed network cards.

Luckily, win 95 seems to have the ability to use different IP addresses for different network options.

Select start->settings->control panel->network.

You need TCP/IP, if you don't have it, then install it from your windows disks.

This is what I have in my network configuration window, some may not be needed..

Client for Microsoft windows
Dial up adapter (must have)
IPX/SPX-compatible Protocol
TCP/IP (must have)
File & printer sharing for Microsoft Networks

Click on the 'identification tab' & enter your details. NOTE, I made sure the 'computer name' was PC, the same as my PC's hostname. You should be able to use anything for the workgroup & computer description.

Click on the access tab. Set it to share level access control.

Click on the 'Client for Microsoft windows tab', then click on properties. Set to logon & restore network connections. Click ok.

Click on the 'dial up adapter', then click properties. Set driver to enhanced 32bit. Click on 'bindings', Check both IPX & TCP/IP boxes.

Click on 'advanced'. For 'record a log file' select yes. (NB. You may want to uncheck this after you get everything working, as the log file can get very big.

For 'Use IPX header compression' select no.

Click ok.

Click on 'IPX/SPX-compatible 'Protocol', Then Click on properties. Select 'bindings', check 'Client for Microsoft windows & file & printer sharing for Microsoft Networks'.

Ignore 'advanced'.

Select 'Netbios', make sure the box is unchecked. Click ok.

Select 'TCP/IP', Click on properties.

For 'IP Address' click on radio button for 'Specify an IP address'. In the 'IP address' box, type in your PC address. Choose an address that will never be used eg. I picked Set the 'Subnet Mask. to Warning, if you already have a network connection, then don't change anything if there is an address already present.

Select 'WINS configuration' select 'disable WINS resolution'.

Ignore 'gateway'.

Select 'bindings' check all boxes.

Ignore 'advanced'.

Select 'DNS configuration' select 'enable DNS'. set 'host' to whatever name you entered for the 'identification' tab.

Set 'domain name' to whatever you want, eg. yourname.org. Put this name in the 'Domain Suffix search order' also.
Remark : This may already be set to your Internet provider's name (if you have one). If not, then this name can be anything, but the PC & atari might have to be set the same. I have not tested this, on my setup they are the same.

Click ok.

Select 'Advanced', Click on properties. set 'Browse master' to automatic. Set LM announce' to no.

Click ok.

Click on 'File & print sharing', check ' I want to be able to give others access to my files'.

Click ok.

Click ok.

PC may ask you if you want to restart, select 'NO'.

To connect via the serial ports, you need a null modem cable. Same one as for Ghostlink, basically Tx1 to Rx2, Rx1 to Tx2 & Gnd to Gnd.

Installing the Null Modem & setting up the PPP link.

As win 95 dial up networking (known as DUN) expects a modem , you cannot get a connection without one.

This is why you need the null modem file, this fools Win95 into thinking it has a modem connected, one which can go up to 115200 baud.

Install mdmcbx4.inf by right clicking on the file & selecting install, follow the instructions.

Open 'the dial up networking folder',( under start- >programs->accessories).

Select 'make new connection', give it a name. In the 'select a modem box', select the 'Generic Null Modem' you just installed. Select next.

The phone number is not important, but Win 95 insists, so indulge it.

Select 'next'. Select 'finish'. This saves all the information you entered.

Select this new connection. Right click it, select properties.

For 'area code', leave blank. For 'Telephone code' use 'not needed'. Click 'configure'. Under 'General', select the com port you wish to use.

Warning : windows has problems with simultaneous usage of certain com port combinations, eg. you can't use com 3 for comms if your serial mouse is on com 1. Likewise for com2/com4. Cause is IRQ conflicts. If all you have is two ports, select the unused one.

Set 'maximum speed' to whatever your atari can handle, usually...

19200 max for a standard STFM/STE.
38400 for a serial port modification (guessing here).
57600 for RSVE + HSMODEM drivers (more guesswork).
115200 for the Falcon (can it really!!).

If in doubt, use 9600, in fact it's a good default.

Select 'connection', set 'data bits' 8, set 'Parity' None, set 'Stop Bits' to 1.

Leave the 'Call preferences' unchecked.

'Port Settings' can be left alone.

Select 'Advanced', Uncheck 'use flow control'.

In the extra settings box, type '&CO'.

If you wish, check the 'record a log file' option.

Select 'options', check the box called 'Bring up terminal window after dialling'.

Click ok.

Select 'Server Type', click in the top box ,select 'PPP:Windows 95, Windows NT 3.5, Internet'.

Make sure all of the checkboxes are unchecked except the one called 'TCP/IP'. Click on 'TCP/IP Settings'. Select 'Specify an IP address' & type it in the box provided.

Select the 'Server Assigned Nameserver Addresses' option & ensure everything else is unchecked.

Click ok.
Click ok.
Click ok.

The settings are now saved. Make a shortcut to this file on the desktop for ease of use.

Now restart the PC.

On the Atari side, there are probably many who are already using PPP under MiNT. If you are one of these, then you are almost ready. YOU just need to install NFS.

KGMD installs an older version of MiNT net

MiNT net 1.01 comes with an install script, just execute it.

NFS has installation instructions. It involves copying files to specific locations.

You need several files in the /etc directory that are important.

A file called hostname (usually generated by KGMD) has the Atari hostname as the only entry. You need to know this name.

A file called hosts (you edit this).

Mine looks like this..          localhost   loopback       STFM1       STFM1.domain.org       PC          PC.domain.org

A file called resolv.conf. Mine looks like this...

domain domain.org
That should be it.

You will also need a PPP dialler. I tried ppp2.2.0e. I could not get it to work. PPP2.1.2 does work however. This came with KGMD.

When all this is up and running, you will have a lot less free memory & when you log in, there will be a lot of stuff running in the background (like inetd, portmap,syslogd, & maybe crond, lpd) as well as your shell.

I tried to use getty on the serial port, but it used to cause login to crash everytime I attempted to login. In the end, I edited 'ttytab' to run a shell without login. It works, so here's the line from the ttytab file.

ttya      "/usr/bin/sh" dialup   on secure

I also had problems with the NFS daemons not starting when they should, so I run them manually..


Remark : both these files should be in /usr/etc, with links from the /etc directory.

I usually dial in from the PC side.

To test your setup, power up the Atari & login. There should be two shells running.

Connect to the Atari using hyperterminal on the PC. Modify a *.ht file by right clicking on the icon & select properties.

Select 'connect to', set the 'connect using' box to whichever com port you want to use for PPP. Click 'configure'. Fill in the boxes with whatever speed you want to use (whatever the Atari serial port is configured to), I suggest 9600,8,NONE,1,NONE; as the STFM seems to default to this.

Click ok.
Click ok.

Double click on the file just modified. If your are successful, you should get a shell prompt. You can use this as a normal terminal, but it proves your cabling & setup are ok.

[B-Net picture] Starting the PPP connection

  Quit Hyperteminal

Double click on your new DUN connection (the shortcut on the desktop). Click on 'connect' when the dialog box appears.

A dialog box will appear with the name 'Connecting to XX', where XX is the name of the file you just used. The box will also indicate that 'Status' is 'dialling'.

Almost immediately, a 'Post-Dial Terminal Screen' will appear, & text will appear in the window. This text is irrelevant, all you need is to get the shell prompt. CD to the root & type in the following '/usr/etc/pppd XX ' (where 'XX' for whatever baud rate you chose), press return & select 'continueF7'.

If all is successful, the dialog box text changes to' Verifying username & password', then quickly changes to 'Connected at XX bps' & reports the connection time duration.

You have now got a working PPP connection. select 'Details' & check the 'Protocols' box contains '1)TCP/IP'. DO NOT CLICK THE 'Disconnect' button , at least not yet anyway.

On your Atari's screen, the PPPD Daemon will have printed some messages about the ppp connection. Check that the addresses are correct for each machine.

Now, open a DOS window & type 'ping STFM' (where STFM is your Atari's hostname).You should get something like this..

Pinging STFM [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=187ms TTL=255
Reply from bytes=32 time=197ms TTL=255
Reply from bytes=32 time=217ms TTL=255
Reply from bytes=32 time=218ms TTL=255

Do the same from the Atari, you should get something similar.

You could also type 'ftp STFM' & get a login prompt from the Atari's FTP server. I have problems logging in, my STFM refuses everybody, probably some password problem which I have yet to fix.

It's easier to login to the PC, just start 'WFTPD' on the PC & type 'ftp PC' at the Atari's shell prompt (where PC is your PC's hostname).

Pressing return gets you in. Type 'ls' on the Atari side, get a listing of the PC's files.

For more fun, type 'telnet STFM' in the DOS window. Wait for the login prompt, then login as normal.

Type 'who' on the PC, shows names + the terminal name + hostname. This is just like the serial connection from before, but you still have the ftp session open on the Atari.

Enough fun, logout from the telnet session, quit the ftp session, time to get serious (NFS).

[B-Net picture] Starting NFS

  Run the program called 'NFS Client' (found in the Omnilite folder under programs, under start).

If you are logging into several drives, it may take some time to start up.

Run the program called 'Tropic NFS-Server' (found in the Tropic Software folder under programs, under start).

Click on 'Trace'. check 'Mount','NFS' & 'Portmapper'.
Click on 'Show'. select 'Clients' (probably none at this stage).
Click on 'Show'. select 'Exported File systems'. Should be as you set up in the 'Exports' file.
Click on 'Show'. select 'Tree'.
(You only do this once, to check your first connection).

On the Atari side, type the following 'mount_nfs PC:/c /nfs/c', where 'PC' is your PC's hostname, '/c' is your C drive (which must be listed in the export file), '/nfs/c' is how you will access this drive. Repeat this for all the PC drives you wish to mount, remembering that they must listed in the 'exports' file.

Type 'cd /nfs/c' then 'ls' for a listing of the PC's drive C files.

Back on the PC, open the 'My Computer' folder. You should see some new drives, similar to the ones you already have installed, except for a small cable on the underside. The drive names will be something like 'j on STFM (O:)', which means Atari drive J, mounted as PC drive O.

Double click on this drive, a window called 'j on STFM (O:)' will open. A small icon like an electric torch will appear & begin moving slowly over & back. After a few seconds the Atari files should appear in the window. The more files there are, the longer it takes.

You can drag/drop files to/from this window & they will behave like an ordinary (albeit slow) hard drive. Don't delete anything valuable.

That's all there is to it.

[BE users picture] What to do if it does not work?

  If the PC complains about usernames & passwords, then try the following.

Find any *.pwd files (usually somewhere in the windows folder). Move them somewhere else, like c:\tmp or c:\temp.

Restart the PC. windows may ask for a password, select 'cancel'.

If the DUN program cannot get a connection to the Atari, check that your Atari's baud rate, data bits & start bits match those of the PC.

Check the PPPlogs, on the Atari, it will be in the /var/log directory.

On the PC, it should be in the Windows directory. You should get some sort of idea why the connection failed.

[BE users picture] Notes & Observations

  There is a lot more that could be done to improve this setup, like..

Automate the PC<->Atari PPP link setup. I might investigate using the scripting addition for the DUN.

Get the MiNT NFS working properly so that it auto logs onto the PC disks & the daemons only run when needed (shutting down if not required should be possible).

I'm not sure if the hardware flow control is working, the man page for PPPD is unclear about this. I did try enabling hardware (RTSCTS) flow control on the PC & used the command '/usr/etc/pppd 19200 crtscts' on the Atari PPPD string. The PPP link still worked, try it. Maybe it makes a difference, might be cable dependant though. I have yet to try the software (XonXoff) flow control option.

I don't know an easy way to set the serial port under MiNT.

Maybe there is some .ttp or autofolder program available?

For now, I run an old shell (OKAMI) which has a RSCONF command.

My STFM defaults to 9600,8,N,1 on powerup.

I guess there should be some way to get authentication working.

It's not needed in my setup, but, if your PC's got a modem..and you have Microsoft Plus installed, then the PC may auto answer the modem & let anybody into both your PC and Atari files.

It might be possible to setup MiNT/MiNTnet/NFS on a 4 mbyte STFM with no hard disk, & use the PC as a file server. It might also be possible to link several Atari's to a PC (if it's serial ports are not in conflict).

Atari's with extra serial ports might be able to 'chain' to other machines, ie. STFM<->Mega STE modem1,Mega STE modem2<->PC. Perhaps the Mega could be setup as a 'gateway'.

I don't have an internet connection on either the STFM or PC, but maybe those who have could investigate the possibility of using the PC as a 'gateway' so that browsing & ftp sessions could take place on the Atari, via the PC.

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