Easy Optical Drive Sharing With PYODS

For many of us, the optical drive is a thing of the past. Once considered essential, the technology is no longer featured in the average laptop,where their omission saves plenty of precious space, and they’re rare on desktops, too. However, every now and then, something comes up and it’d be useful to have one on hand. [Klattimer] has just the solution for the MacOS set. 

The Python Online Disk Server, or PYODS, is a tool that allows one to serve optical drives or ISO images over a network to MacOS clients. In its basic configuration, it shares all optical drives on a system, as well as all images found in a select folder. Thanks to using Python, it allows other operating systems to share their drives with Macs. It relies on Apple’s existing API to function, and should be a handy tool for anyone that regularly finds themselves having to scratch around for a way to mount an ISO in a pinch.

Thankfully, outside of legacy applications, cumbersome optical technologies and image files are a thing of the past. If you’ve got drives laying around that you’re not using anymore, why not repurpose them into a plotter?

41 thoughts on “Easy Optical Drive Sharing With PYODS

  1. “Once considered essential, the technology is no longer featured in the average laptop,where their omission saves plenty of precious space, and they’re rare on desktops, too.”

    And yet cases still sell with the space for them.

    1. I use the space as a large drawer to store a lot of unuseful stuff there like extra cables from the modular PSU, extra screws, other cables…

      I also clicked on Report Comment because I thought it was Reply to Comment… I just woke up and can’t see straight… sorry :(

      1. How often do you change the cabling on your PSU?

        (Sorry, I’ve shifted into “get rid of junk” mode since I discovered hundreds of dollars of unused stuff lying around all over the place in my home.)

    2. Big cases are no longer relevant. Unfortunately the desktop mentality is rooted in the past and designed for the 1% of people that might use two graphics cards or multiple hard drives.

      The desktop design mentality needs to undergo a paradigm shift (dang, I should have read that book in college). The modern desktop does NOT need a 1,000 watt power supply, room for a gazillion graphics cards and hard drives.

      The modern desktop needs room for ONE full-size graphics card. ONE hard drive and ONE SSD. With enough space to for either natural or supplemental cooling.

      The necessity for ATX motherboards is gone except for the manufacturers who want to show that they can load up EVERY conceivable feature on to a motherboard. Or for gamers who have a lot of money and want to show off.

      The Micro-ATX should be the “premium” board with the features that 80% plus of the market can AFFORD.

      If you need an optical drive, and EXTERNAL drive that plays the latest optical disk format is what you should get.

      The need to “share” an optical drive is niche at best. Interesting concept, but not relevant to the 99%.

  2. Interesting…
    Back in 1999 I found myself reverse engineering and writing a FUSE filesystem for a Kubik 200 disc CD changer which ended up presenting the entire 200 CD library as a single Samba filesystem. The directory listings were indexed and cached (via just tweaking OS timeouts) so that only actual read requests caused the mounting of each CD. This worked fine, as long as only up to 4 CD’s were needed at one time. :)
    Of course cheap storage rapidly made this little accomplishment completely obsolete, and I have since stripped said CD changers for parts. They used to retail for about as much as a car. Now the most valuable bit of that system I still have is a couple of the bearings and some AL plate. Kinda sad. They were a nice bit of engineering.

  3. “For many of us, the optical drive is a thing of the past….”
    but for everyone with an Xbox or a playstation or just the DVD player next to the TV-set… it’s still very essential. If you’ve a WII then it’s handy too. That this kind of media dissappears isn’t caused by the fact that the media is obsolete, it’s more driven by the fact that laptops “need” to be thinner and thinner… so thin that you even can’t replace the battery without special tools. Somehow I wouldn’t call that progress.

    While everybody is screaming about obsolete media, we seem to forget that a small round disc is supplied along within many computer hardware. Although I know that everyone tosses this disc out and downloads the latest driver from the net, it proves to show that the media isn’t considered obsolete by those supplying them with their product. If downloading is your only option, you pretty screwed in many cases. Not everything is connected to the net, not everything CAN be connected to the net. I don’t see drivers (for mainstream hardware) being supplied on USB sticks… yet. But if they eventually do, what type of connector should they have?

    1. I find it quite wasteful that they still supply a driver on disk. It’s quite possible the first thing it will do after install is to update itself from the internet.
      Laptops don’t need to be thinner, but they need to be lighter. Problem is companies don’t brag about the weight because it is hard to compete on that when you need to use the same components to get a certain performance. So they brag about being thin.
      As for the CD drive in the laptop, i prefer it to be gone and have it as an external peripheral, if needed. It’s 5-6 years since I don’t have one on mine, I kept thinking I will buy one eventually, but i never needed it.

      1. Remember you are in the FIRST world and have UNLIMITED internet. I’ve somehow ended up on Tom’s Hardware’s UK site for most of my forum visits and even people in WESTERN Europe comment about the price of hardware and the limitations on their fast internet.

        I can’t imagine trying to build or maintain a computer in Venezuela right now.

    2. Another thing where optical media are still the king, especially for home users, is data archival/backup. Tape is way too expensive and not practical for home users, so when it comes to long term storage, DVDs and/or Blurays are really the only option.

      (No, you don’t want to keep your precious family photos for years on a stack of harddrives or SSDs. These are good for short term backup but not archival. Mechanical harddrives could be stuck after years of not being used, are sensitive to vibration/accidental drops and SSDs and HDD controller boards could get easily damaged by ESD, ruining your data. Also – what about the electrical interfaces? How long is it going to take you to find a working PATA port? What about a SCSI one?)

      1. I remember doing that once upon a time only to find later that the CDR’s has degraded.

        The key to spinning things long term storage is to keep a copy in multiple places. Encrypted if you want. And of course not store the drives in shitty environments. But then my entire digital footprint is only 6Tb and doesn’t grow fast.

        I have a USB DVD and a USB floppy drive. The internal ones all got binned. I archived all my optical media to ISOs and onto my NAS.
        I threw the legacy scsi stuff out a couple of years ago. I still have some PATA drives I need to crush. And I have a load of SATA drives in small sizies that TBH I should dispose of too.

        But if I want any of those interfaces I can get them off ebay with a USB2/3 connector for under $10.

        Of course cloud storage is one place to look too. A lot of it is free and backed up.

      2. For me this does not make sense now. it used to, when I could have stuff backed up on a rather low number of discs.
        This does depend on the amount of data that you have. I could always fit all that I care about on one modern hard drive, so the 3 copies can exist on 3 hard disks. But the trick is to copy your all your data to the recent hard disk and not forget it on old drives. It may be convenient to leave those pictures from that vacation on that old 10GB disk, but on the other hand, that amount of data is nothing on a modern disk.

        Plus, backing up on multiple DVDs or blue rays is very time consuming.

      3. ROFLMAO – “home users” “archival/backup”?????????? ha ha ha pee ha ha ha!!!!!!!

        All ONE of them is doing that.

        You mean all those precious memories in BOXES in that closet aren’t safe and eternal?

  4. The thing in the article is useful, but I would prefer the machines having their drives. Just one optical drive in the house is just something that can fail when you need it the most.

    Also, i was under the impression that Mac´s could mount ISO images. Linux can, Windows can, is that some fruity thing, like the removal of headphones in their cell phones ?

  5. A few years back I tried sharing an optical drive over a home network. Didn’t work. Can’t even remember why I wanted to. Only time in my computer use memory I even tried that.

    My solution was probably to take the few minutes to remove the optical drive from one machine, put it in the other, do whatever I had to and then move it back to the original machine.

    1. Sharing is doable. The default for a share is “Password” even if none is supplied.
      Deep dive your shares and change to “no password”
      A server had a failed CD/DVD and we needed to install a program asap…
      (Remember those days)
      I shared a user CD, and was off to the races.

    1. Unless it handles CDROMs, it won’t work. Audio drives only read audio CDs, you need a CDROM drive.

      Of course, those changers just moved CDs, ao only one drive.I rcall there were CDROM changers at one tije, but not likely hooding 300. Now the DVDrom drives are cheap, but it means using a lot of them if you need lots of disks onkine at one time.

  6. I’d never have a computer without a DVD drive. I have too many disks, though admittedly mostly.CDs.and.movies. Buth then when I got this refurbished computer three years ago, I made sure it had a serial and parallel port, even though I’ve yet to use them.

    Sadly, it’s a small form factor case, so sitting on its side the drive is vertical, not so easy to use. I decided to get an external USB drive, but kind of redundant. So I have a usb to pata adapter coming, to use a DVD driveI hqve around. Plus I can use it to.mount old hard drives to transfer the content. It can even be used for sata drives, so I’m all set. Onky $15.99 in Canada.

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