May 24 2007

MacFUSE and Mounted FTP File Systems

Published by at 12:56 pm under Technology

This is an old article and the information contained within it may be out of date, not reflect my current views and/or contain broken links. If you feel this article is still valid and requires updating, you can use the contact form to let me know. However, I make no guarantee that it will get updated.

For those of you that have never heard about it before, FUSE is a system that allows Linux users to mount file systems at run-time that are not natively supported by the operating system.

For example, Linux systems to don’t provide functionality to mount an ftp file server and use it as if it is a local drive. However, with FUSE you can get this functionality through the use of the ftpfs plugin. Other examples of FUSE plugins include sshfs, bindfs, beaglefs. There is even a WordPressfs for those masochists out there.

But what has this got to do with MacFUSE? Well, the original FUSE system was created for Linux and therefore didn’t run on Macs. That is until someone decided to port FUSE to Macs and stuck it up on Google Code.

I read about MacFUSE a while ago but there didn’t seem to be much information about it other than it existed. What information I found about FUSE for Linux seemed rather complicated and involved a load of command line activity to get it working, so I gave MacFUSE a miss.

Today, however, I found out about MacFusion (also hosted on Google Code) that claimed to be a GUI interface to MacFUSE. So, I decided to give MacFUSE a go… i mean, how hard can it be to get it running?

As it turns out it was incredibly simple. Download the DMG for MacFUSE and install it using the installer package (requires a reboot). Download the MacFusion DMG and drag the app to the applications folder. When MacFusion is running it sticks an icon in the menu bar. Its got a really simple interface for adding new mounts and can be set to run at start-up. The standard installation of MacFUSE comes with ftpfs and sshfs, which are probably the two most commonly used ones.

Thats the way all software should be. Clean, simple and with a clearly defined function, its there when you need it but doesn’t scream for your attention when its not needed.

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