capsule review

Timbuktu Pro 6.0

When you want to control the graphical interface of a remote Mac running OS X, the command line isn't going to help you--you need remote-control software that lets you go beyond the command line.

Remote Control

Server administrators and others who control remote Macs will be pleased by Timbuktu Pro 6.0.1, which allows Macs running OS X to control and be controlled by other computers using Timbuktu, whether they're running OS X, a classic Mac OS as early as OS 8.6, or even Windows. In addition to allowing screen sharing, Timbuktu lets you exchange files with remote servers, chat with other Timbuktu users, and even send audio messages.

Netopia has introduced several changes to make Timbuktu compatible with OS X. For example, Timbuktu's familiar quick-access menu on the Mac's menu bar, which allowed users to control and monitor access and launch Timbuktu in a flash, is no longer displayed. Instead, Timbuktu Pro 6.0.1 generates a floating menu that hovers atop the menu bar, posing as a menu-bar icon. But since it's not really on the menu bar, it can often float above true menu-bar items, obscuring them.

Mac OS X is a multiple-user operating system, which means that files and folders on a hard drive can have different access restrictions, depending on the user who is currently logged in. Timbuktu Pro 6.0.1 honors those restrictions, allowing remote administrators access only to areas that the currently logged-in user has access to.

One key feature is missing from the OS X version of Timbuktu: support for connections via the AppleTalk protocol. Given OS X 10.1's improved support for AppleTalk, which is still in use on many Mac networks, it's a disappointing omission.

Though the new version adds support for the transfer of multigigabyte files, Timbuktu-enabled file transfers aren't as speedy as FTP transfers, and they slow down the system much more than copying files in the Finder from a mounted server does. The Timbuktu file-transfer client also fails to show the contents of the OS X desktop unless you navigate through the hard drive to the Desktop folder for the currently logged-in user.

Macworld's Buying Advice

With Timbuktu Pro 6.0.1, OS X systems have become full members of the Timbuktu family, and that's great news. This version's file-transfer features aren't particularly strong, but they're not the reason you buy Timbuktu--you buy it because it's an excellent, stable tool that lets you observe and control distant Macs and PCs.

I See You: Controlling an OS 9 based server from OS X is easy with Timbuktu Pro 6.0.1.
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