One of the advantages to being comfortable with OS X is that using Linux, as well, is fairly straightforward. And let’s face it, as cool as OS X is, it’s cheaper to have other computers running Linux — especially when it comes to acting as a file server or other related tasks. Unfortunately, though, there can be some friction is getting the two computing appliances connected with one another and then trying to get them to talk with each other. File sharing over OS X and Linux can be tricky as they each use different file systems.

Getting Linux to mount the OS X HFS+ file system

There was a time when I would have told you that you were just out of luck. Then came a project called Linux HFS+ Support. The idea was simple enough; provide Linux users with the ability to mount HFS+ file systems as needed without a lot of frustration. This is especially helpful when connecting an external hard drive using HFS+ Linux system. And as time passed, the project was dropped as needed HFS+ support was then added at the kernel level. No longer did Linux users have to add this kind of support themselves; the kernel took the hard work out of this for them.

Mount OS X HFS On Ubuntu
Photo by William Hook

Getting OS X to mount ANY of the commonly used Linux file systems

For Mac users, mounting the commonly used Ext2/3/or/4 file systems isn’t happening without some help. Apparently Apple just never found a need here. Fair enough, there is software you can purchase to help you along with this. The application is called Paragon ExtFS for Mac and it’s going to run you about $40 US. This could be totally worth it, should you be someone who accesses Linux partitions on a regular basis. If you’re not, then can try one of the “hackish methods” some users are trying these days. But if it was me, I’d either be using a LiveCD or opt for the above listed software instead.