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Author Topic: PC and Mac cohabitation  (Read 2720 times)

iamimdoc

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PC and Mac cohabitation
« on: March 08, 2013, 01:59:23 pm »

I have an extra Macbook in need of something to do.  Trying to decide on using the Mac version of JRiver. 

All of my music is networked on USB drives on a PC on the network. All NTFS formatted.  Works fine

There seem to be issues with Mac's and PC on the same network, ability of Mac computers to write to NTFS drives, etc.  New music is added occasionally.

I prefer to keep one group of music files (3TB worth) so I don't have to deal with multiple copies etc.

If I  get the Mac version, will I be creating headaches downstream that require two separate sets of music files, difficulty keeping things in sync, etc?

Or would it be better to make the Mac into a PC and just get on with it?

I have JRiver 17 for PC license (in use) for more than a year. 

Could I use it on second PC  (as in a Mac made into a PC) in my home Simultaneously with my original PC?   

Or do I  need a second license?   Can I deactivate the first PC and use it on the new one?

If I do not need a second license, do I just put in the original License key and call it a day?  Are there going to be download issues, etc?

Thanks
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glynor

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 05:15:54 pm »

There seem to be issues with Mac's and PC on the same network, ability of Mac computers to write to NTFS drives, etc.

Macs and Windows cooperate just fine on the same network.  Macs can even join corporate Windows Domains, and have very nice and full featured Windows File Sharing (SMB) support.

By default, Macs can't write to locally mounted NTFS drives (they can see the files, but they're read only).  But this:

A. Has absolutely no impact on network drives.  You can still read/write to drives shared by another Windows machine, regardless of how the disk itself is formatted.  This is handled by the SMB system, and then the Windows box actually performs the reads/writes to the NTFS or whatever partition.

B. If you do need to locally read/write to NTFS volumes, this is easily solved by installing Paragon Software's NTFS For Mac.  I don't run a Mac without it, and it is cheap and works perfectly.  They perform like native drives (and get corrupted/messed up less than HFS+ volumes).
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glynor

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 05:18:09 pm »

I'll try to answer some of your other questions later if no one else responds.  The licensing question has been asked/answered here though, so search (I answered it once myself just recently).
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JHR

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 09:08:50 am »

Two minor points to add:

1) using the Paragon or the Tuxeris NTFS drivers with transfers over my network seems very slow (with USB 3 drives). So I reverted to exFat on external library drives for Mac / Windows compatibility, and they were noticeably faster--I don't know why.

2) I'm assuming at some point in the future either a separately licensed Mac or Windows MC (that's the way they're sold) could be a client for a host version over the network. I wouldn't hold my breath for that till the Mac alpha makes more progress, but it certainly makes sense. Similarly, I haven't tried it, but if your network is fast enough, you could try opening a network share as your MC library file location. If your network is fast enough, this could also work. 
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iamimdoc

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 09:34:31 am »

It is my understanding a pc and a Mac can both read NTFS drives but only a pc can write to NTFS drives

It is my understanding some information is kept in a FLAC file re the song after "tagging". 

Most info is kept in the Mac or pc libraries, presumably.  One would be on Mac and one on the pc I presume.

But suppose I add album art( or whatever) to a song while listening to the Mac.  Would that be reflected in the pc j river the next time it is used? 

Would I have to maintain all of the stuff (lyrics, album art, rating). Etc. TWICE?.  That is I want to avoid if possible. It becomes a Herculean struggle at some point with large libraries.   I also am unclear how the Mac version can save info to the FLAC file on an NTFS drive.

THANKS
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JHR

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 01:31:22 pm »

{snipped}

But suppose I add album art( or whatever) to a song while listening to the Mac.  Would that be reflected in the pc j river the next time it is used?  

Would I have to maintain all of the stuff (lyrics, album art, rating). Etc. TWICE?.  That is I want to avoid if possible. It becomes a Herculean struggle at some point with large libraries.   I also am unclear how the Mac version can save info to the FLAC file on an NTFS drive.

As you've written, Macs/OSX can read NTFS drives natively, however, they cannot write to an NTFS drive natively.

However, there are a couple of third-party (for pay) add-ons for OSX that allow it to write to an NTFS drive, discussed in the previous posts (namely Tuxera and Paragon programs).

There is also the exFAT format available on both OSX and newer Windows systems, which is cross-platform compatible and allows for a large number of files and larger (than FAT) file sizes. After investigating Tuxera and Paragon drivers, I use exFAT for PC <--> Mac compatibility.

So first you need to decide on a disk system that is compatible. You either format a drive with exFAT, or buy one of the additional NTFS programs for OSX and format with NTFS (there are even free versions, but they're limited in some ways, and I haven't bothered with them).

Next you need to decide where your "primary library" will be. Since Windows is stable and fully featured, and Mac is still in Alpha and just staring, for me that's a non-issue: Windows is where I will organize and tag; Mac is where I will mostly actually play :) 

Next you copy the music files that you've tagged already in MC Windows. Plug it into the Mac, and import the songs.

Right now, with the alpha driver, the tags you've added in Windows will be there in the Mac library on import, though I haven't checked ratings or lyrics yet.

Cover art is a different story right now (an alpha statement I'm pretty sure). If the cover art is in the actual file, or in the directory of the album, then it will import no problem. Ideally, you could copy over your cover art directory from Windows to the Mac and find anything missing that way; I've found that doesn't quite work yet, so I've filled the occasional gap on the Mac version itself (from the internet or from a file, manually).

So the net of this process is this: I do all my tagging and organizing in the full-featured version of MC for Windows, then I always copy the data to the Mac and re-import. Works very well so far. Any tag changes / cover art changes I make on the Mac version will work on the Mac, but since I'm always copying from PC --> Mac means those changes will be lost. As I hinted above, as long as the Mac version is alpha, I'm never going to re-import those files back to the Windows PC.

Once MC is feature-complete (in beta, effectively), I will still use the same workflow as above, except I will import only the changes  I make on the Windows library to MC Mac (unless there's a compelling reason, like a code regression, to re-import the whole library again). 

Once the Mac version stable, and is equivalent to the Windows version (for things like UPnP and maybe even video--hey, I can hope!), I will use the Mac version as the primary version and use the Windows system only as as a backup :)

That's the plan, anyway... you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?  :)
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glynor

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 03:57:37 pm »

Just to reiterate and be 100% clear...

If you are creating a network share on a Windows box, and connecting to that share from a Mac, it does not matter what disk format the Windows box is using (NTFS, FAT, or anything else).  The only time you need to worry about read/write access to NTFS disks on a Mac is if you'll be directly connecting the disk to a Mac (via USB, FireWire, SATA, or something else similar).

In my experience (I've tested them all thoroughly), Paragon's NTFS Driver for Mac is the best one.  Tuxera was occasionally troublesome and slower in my tests.

1) using the Paragon or the Tuxeris NTFS drivers with transfers over my network seems very slow (with USB 3 drives). So I reverted to exFat on external library drives for Mac / Windows compatibility, and they were noticeably faster--I don't know why.

I've never done this.  You'd only see this if you were connecting an NTFS disk to a Mac and then sharing it out over the network from that Mac.  I have no idea if this works well or not, but that seems like an edge case.

If you are instead sharing the disk directly from a real Windows box, then it doesn't matter, and NTFS is probably your best choice.
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chriswatson

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 04:21:44 pm »

My understanding from prior posts is that PC and Mac's sharing libraries is not something that is a for sure thing. It may be that you would need to have two libraries, or at least two libraries pointing to the same files. Hopefully they will move that to the got to have list. Not wanting to have multiple Media servers all over the place is one of the reasons I switched to JRiver
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glynor

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 06:04:40 pm »

My understanding from prior posts is that PC and Mac's sharing libraries is not something that is a for sure thing.

OSX and Windows copies of MC can share media files.  This covers a lot, as MC saves tags to the files, and then can read those tags, so the metadata will stay intact.  Once Auto-Import is working fully on OSX, this should cover a lot of use cases, as you can just point the Windows and Mac copies of MC at the same music files, and any tags you change on one copy, will automatically show up on the other copy.

OSX and Windows copies of MC cannot currently share Libraries (the database).  This would be better as it covers more than just the files themselves (customized views and playlists, for example), it includes the few tags that aren't saved to tags, file types that don't support embedded tags, and it handles everything much more seamlessly.  They've said they aren't sure, but it is certainly something they'd like to add.  It just might not make it into v18.  They don't know yet.  There are other fish to fry.
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JHR

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 09:22:48 pm »

{snipped}

I've never done this [original quote talking about network shares and NTFS drives on the Mac].  You'd only see this if you were connecting an NTFS disk to a Mac and then sharing it out over the network from that Mac.  I have no idea if this works well or not, but that seems like an edge case.

If you are instead sharing the disk directly from a real Windows box, then it doesn't matter, and NTFS is probably your best choice.

Actually, what I was trying to say--just for the interests of clarity--is that I used both Tuxera and Paragon drivers on the Mac to directly connect a USB3 drive to the Mac formatted with NTFS.

When I then made a Windows share and connected from the Mac (to update some files without physically disconnecting), copying files to the external NTFS drive was noticeably slow.

When I reformatted the same drive as exFAT (which again, works natively on both platforms) I saw quite a speed increase copying the same files over the network.

So: same drive, same network, same files and operations--the third party NTFS drivers were the only (known) variable. I don't know why they were slower. But I don't think copying files over a network from a Windows PC to a Mac is an edge case, either!

FWIW, though, in normal local operation, I didn't notice much speed decrease. OTH, I'm not using these external drives for anything speed intensive.
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JHR

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 09:23:50 pm »

Actually, what I was trying to say--just for the interests of clarity--is that I used both Tuxera and Paragon drivers on the Mac to directly connect a USB3 drive to the Mac formatted with NTFS.

When I then made a Windows share and connected from the Mac (to update some files without physically disconnecting), copying files to the external NTFS drive was noticeably slow. I wasn't sharing the files from the Mac, in other words...just writing there.

When I reformatted the same drive as exFAT (which again, works natively on both platforms) I saw quite a speed increase copying the same files over the network.

So: same drive, same network, same files and operations--the third party NTFS drivers were the only (known) variable. I don't know why they were slower. But I don't think copying files over a network from a Windows PC to a Mac is an edge case, either!

FWIW, though, in normal local operation, I didn't notice much speed decrease. OTH, I'm not using these external drives for anything speed intensive.
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glynor

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 09:24:58 am »

So: same drive, same network, same files and operations--the third party NTFS drivers were the only (known) variable. I don't know why they were slower. But I don't think copying files over a network from a Windows PC to a Mac is an edge case, either!

FWIW, though, in normal local operation, I didn't notice much speed decrease. OTH, I'm not using these external drives for anything speed intensive.

Right, but you're connecting an NTFS drive to a Mac and then using the Mac to share this volume with Windows boxes.  Or is this a drive that you "move back and forth" between the Mac and Windows locally, but also share when it is connected to the Windows box?  In either instance, this is, likely, an edge case.  However, if you're getting bad performance when sharing a NTFS drive directly on a "real Windows" box, then something is misconfigured on the Windows box.  Windows Networking can be troublesome, especially if you access the shares from multiple machines simultaneously.

The vast majority of Mac users would be using HFS+ formatted volumes and sharing those out via SMB to allow Windows machines to access them (or using Windows machines to share the NTFS formatted volumes with other machines on the network).  Both of those things work fine.  On my home network, I get ~110MB/s throughput from my Macbook Pro to my NTFS formatted Windows share (served by Windows 7 Pro from a fast RAID-5 volume that can do 400-500MB/s locally).  That's the practical limit of Gigabit, so it is as fast as it could possibly go.

I'm not suggesting it isn't broken in some way, I'm just suggesting that this is something that probably isn't heavily tested by the filesystem driver vendors (because it is, relatively, rare).  OSX's SMB sharing mechanism may expect certain filesystem characteristics from the driver that aren't available (or don't function quite "right") with the third-party drivers.  This may be particularly true with more recent versions of OSX, as they've abandoned Samba (for good reasons, IMHO) and built their own SMB sharing system.
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JHR

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Re: PC and Mac cohabitation
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 11:18:43 am »

Right, but you're connecting an NTFS drive to a Mac and then using the Mac to share this volume with Windows boxes.  Or is this a drive that you "move back and forth" between the Mac and Windows locally, but also share when it is connected to the Windows box?  In either instance, this is, likely, an edge case.  However, if you're getting bad performance when sharing a NTFS drive directly on a "real Windows" box, then something is misconfigured on the Windows box.  Windows Networking can be troublesome, especially if you access the shares from multiple machines simultaneously.

:) I'll try this one more time, just in the interest of understanding.

I'm not connecting an NTFS drive to a Mac then sharing that volume. I'm connecting an NTFS drive to a Mac and then copying files to it from a Windows share ;)

That's what I found to be slower.  

Quote
{snipped}
I'm not suggesting it isn't broken in some way, I'm just suggesting that this is something that probably isn't heavily tested by the filesystem driver vendors (because it is, relatively, rare).  OSX's SMB sharing mechanism may expect certain filesystem characteristics from the driver that aren't available (or don't function quite "right") with the third-party drivers.  This may be particularly true with more recent versions of OSX, as they've abandoned Samba (for good reasons, IMHO) and built their own SMB sharing system.

I'm sure you're right about SMB and other quirks of the system. It could well be that Mac to Mac transfers over the network are indeed faster to a local NTFS drive than Windows to Mac transfers, and you've probably hit the nail on the head as to why.

However, since we're talking about PC and Mac co-existence, I just thought I'd point out that when copying (thousands of files) from a networked Windows share to a local drive on my Mac, exFAT provided faster copies on the Mac side :)  

And I can still sneaker-net the drive between OSX and Windows.
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