Wednesday, July 24, 2024

An Apple Rendezvous with the Outside

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Keeping in line with its so-called “digital hub” vision, Apple Computer
issued new software that will let Macs and PCs find each
other wirelessly.

The computer maker released a batch of software development kits (SDK) to allow its
Rendezvous networking technology to communicate better with other operating systems like Windows 2000 and XP, Linux,
Solaris and FreeBSD.

Rendezvous currently lets only Mac users share files over 802.11g networks. Now,
Windows and Java developers can add Rendezvous service discovery
to their applications, thus allowing them to participate in cross-platform file sharing over a wireless network.

The Windows preview release includes full link-local support that lets
the PC discover advertised HTTP and FTP servers using Internet Explorer. The
software also includes a printer setup wizard that will let PCs print to
other Rendezvous-networked printers, including USB-shared printers connected
by Apple’s AirPort Extreme and its soon-to-be-released AirPort Express Base

For POSIX platforms, including Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD, Apple is
pointing developers to its mDNSResponder project from Darwin CVS to get
the new POSIX-compatible mDNS Responder daemon (mdnsd).

“[The daemon] provides the same DNSServiceDiscovery API available on Mac
OS X and Windows. Darwin also contains new support for doing Rendezvous
service discovery from Java,” Apple said on its download site.

Apple has been working fastidiously to network its devices with others.
For example, AirPort Express lets Mac and PC users share a
single DSL or cable broadband account with up to 10 simultaneous users and a
single USB printer with multiple users.

The new Rendezvous technology is expected to be further developed as part
of Apple’s next-generation operating system (10.4x, code-named Tiger), which the company
expects to bring to market in the first half of 2005. The
upgrade includes 150 new features on the desktop and 200 new upgrades on the
Tiger Server version.

In addition to wireless file sharing, Apple is adding several
technologies in Tiger that will help enterprises support and transfer files from
Microsoft’s Windows NT platform. The improvements include support for SMB
performance, SMB home directories and bridging tools to bring NT users to

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