Is Dave, Thursby Software’s venerable utility for Windows file and print sharing, necessary now that we have Jaguar? Despite the fact that Jaguar makes it easier to share PC files and connect to Windows machines than OS X 10.1 did, in some circumstances, especially in larger organizations where Mac users need to access files and printers on multiple Windows servers, the answer is a resounding yes. Thursby’s latest release, Dave 4.0, boasts new features such as Windows NT Domain Login, PC Setup Assistant, and more security options for file and printer sharing. But whether Jaguar can take the place of Dave depends on the size and configuration of your network (see “Putting Jaguar to the Test”).
First Things First
Dave’s included first-time configuration utilities for Macs and now for PCs make it fairly easy to start sharing files and printers across a network. (You’ll need to be running OS 8.6 or later, or OS X 10.1.5 or later, and at least one Windows- or CIFS-compliant server.) On a PC, Dave’s Configuration wizard examines your TCP/IP networking and sharing settings to make sure that they’re configured properly to work with Dave.
The process for Macs hasn’t changed much since version 3.1.1, apart from the addition of security options for sharing. On a Mac, Dave’s Setup Assistant launches immediately after you install the utility and asks you a few questions about your Windows network. It then configures Dave’s features in three separate preference panes: Login, Network, and Sharing.
If your network changes, you can either run Setup Assistant again or make the changes manually. The latter option allows you to indicate active ports and your network’s Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) addresses; if you use a laptop, you’ll appreciate the ability to save these settings for different locations. However, had Thursby chosen a less tedious, multitabbed approach, similar to that of the OS X Network pane, you could manage all of Dave 4.0’s settings in a single window and save yourself some guesswork as to which setting is configured where.
Share and Share Alike
If you regularly access files on several Windows servers, you’ll quickly grow fond of Dave 4.0’s Windows NT Domain Login feature, which lets you access the shares (shared resources on
a server) and printers on all the servers of a Windows network with a single login — unlike Apple’s implementation of Server Message Block (SMB) access. Dave also allows you to change your Windows network password from your Mac — without this feature, you’d have to log in on a PC.
OS X 10.2 nicely incorporated Windows-standard SMB and CIFS for sharing files on the Mac with Windows clients; however, OS X 10.2 requires that users manage a separate set of credentials for each client. With Dave, you can secure shared folders, volumes, or printers, using local-level security, share-level security, or user-level security — the last lets you grant access to your local files without separate accounts and passwords.
Like Dave 3.1.1, version 4.0 lets you drag and drop any folders or volumes from your desktop onto a list of shares in the Sharing pane (see “Access Granted”), or click on the pane’s Add Share button to share your local files with others. When you add a share, Dave immediately prompts you to specify who can access this share and at what level. Unfortunately, you must use the same security model for all your shared items — and changing the security type removes any current shares — so you’ll need to carefully consider which security model works best when you set it up.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
Smaller, cost-conscious businesses that already use OS X 10.2 may have a tough time justifying the purchase of Dave 4.0. However, despite its somewhat tedious configuration method, Dave 4.0 allows Mac users in large organizations to access shares via a single sign-on; likewise, Windows users can access Mac files and printers through the same security model. Dave offers great functionality for Mac users on Windows networks who just want to blend in.