trying to host VFP FoxPro database files on Lion Server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by The Carrot, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. The Carrot macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2011

    I've spent hours trying to make this work - maybe someone has prior experience / knowledge...

    We run an order management system for our internet business - application is called Mail Order Manager. Written in FoxPro. "Database" is a bunch of data table files - all currently hosted on a Windows Server.

    I can run the clients in Parallels on a Mac, but trying to get off a Windows server.

    Have moved the database folder to a Lion Server shared folder - but get a "cannot connect to abc.dbc" error when I try to start up. I believe I have permissions and such correct in Lion Server (new to it). Can create and edit files I stick in that directory.

    If anyone has accomplished this - or has prior knowledge of FoxPro server files (and some stupid constraint that they are not just files - but have to be "valid windows images") - I'd appreciate hearing about it.


  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    So you want to use a Mac to host the data for an obsolete Microsoft DBMS? Perhaps, soalib can help you. You are better off migrating to a DBMS with a future. If you want to live in the past, then why not go all-in with StelsDBF on a PPC-based Mac?
  3. speacock, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    Quite likely a locking problem

    In theory SAMBA implements exactly the same locking semantics as Windows NT4/Windows 2000, in practice there seem to be lots of problems when it comes down to the practicalities of actually getting it working.

    It may even be that FoxPro deliberately checks that the server hosting the files is a Windows server in order to ensure full locking support (it's not as daft as it may sound, they want to be sure they aren't the cause of any data corruption you suffer).

    There are a number of configuration changes you can make to the SAMBA configuration file (smb.conf I think it is called), that may help you overcome your problems, but I can't offer any advice on what you need to change, there's loads of stuff on the SAMBA website

    Another angle of investigation may be to upgrade to OS X Lion. Lion doesn't use SAMBA but instead uses an SMB2 stack which I understand Apple licensed from Microsoft, and is apparently faster and more reliable than SAMBA (I've not tried it myself, but it surely couldn't be much worse). I have no idea whether this will help you, but given that SMB2 should be more compatible with current Windows Server platforms, then it may.

    Your line about 'valid Windows image' puzzles me. Is this something stated in the documentation or something you've seen when trying to run a program? The reason I ask is that this is the message displayed when you try to execute an invalid program on a windows system (so for example if you try to run x64 code on an x86 system), so if it is something displayed at runtime, I'm wondering what it is that you're trying to run?

    I appreciate you didn't ask for any input beyond getting the database working, but I can't help commenting on a couple of things that stand out:

    1. FoxPro is now end of life and support will end in October 2012 (standard MS policy is 5 years after the last SP), so it is really time to start looking at migrating the database. One way to start may be to migrate the data from FoxPro databases to something like SQL Server or Oracle and then use ODBC to connect your FoxPro clients to that. That way you should overcome your problems with the Mac Server and you've also made the first step to getting off FoxPro.

    2. Given that you say you're running the client in Parallels I assume the client is a Windows one, not the really ancient VFP for Mac. Given this, I wonder why the imperative to move to a Mac Server? If you have to have Windows clients (albeit virtual ones) then why the need to get rid of the Windows Server? If it's a case of running just one server rather than two, then it may be worth considering migrating your Mac Server to Windows rather than the other way round. Windows Server makes a much better server for Mac clients than Mac Servers do for Windows clients.

    PS. One final thought. I'm not that familiar with FP but I assume it uses a database connection file (OBDC), I assume you've changed this to point to the new location? It just occured to me that it could be something as simple as this.

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