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Thread: HOWTO: Share folders between OS X and virtualized Ubuntu with Parallels and sshfs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

    HOWTO: Share folders between OS X and virtualized Ubuntu with Parallels and sshfs

    I run Ubuntu 6.10 on my MacBook Pro using Parallels because sound and wifi are not supported on a native Edgy installation. Parallels has a "Shared Folder" feature that only works with a Windows XP client. Here is how I do folder sharing between OS X and Ubuntu, but it should work for any Linux or UNIX:

    1. In Mac OS X, before starting Parallels, go into the Sharing System Preference's pane and enable Remote Login by checking the box next to "Remote Login."
    2. In Parallels, go into Networking in your client preferences and enable Shared Networking.
    3. Start your Ubuntu client machine and login.
    4. Once in Ubuntu, install sshfs. sshfs is a filesystem built on top of ssh. Run the following in a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

      % sudo apt-get install sshfs
    5. The sshfs install created a new user group called 'fuse'. If your Ubuntu username is 'joe', do the following to add joe to the fuse user group:

      % sudo adduser joe fuse
    6. Log out of Ubuntu then log back in for these changes to take affect.
    7. Now we need to create a password-less ssh key so you can connect to your Mac OS X host via ssh without having to enter a password:

      % sshkeygen
      When prompted for a password, just press return to leave the password blank.
    8. The IP address of your Mac OS X host on the shared network should be If that host is unreachable in these next few steps, go to a terminal in Mac OS X and type 'ifconfig' and look for a similar IP address towards the bottom of the ifconfig output - near words like 'share' and 'bridge'. In my experience this address has remained constant.

      % scp ~/.ssh/ osxusername@
      <Enter your OS X user's password when prompted>
      % ssh osxusername@
      <Enter your OS X user's password when prompted>
      <You should now be logged into an OS X terminal via ssh>
      % mkdir .ssh
      % cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys
      % rm
      % exit
    9. Now we're ready to mount a shared folder. From a Ubuntu terminal, in your home directory (~):

      % mkdir Documents_OSX
      % sshfs Documents_OSX
      And that should do it. Look inside Documents_OSX - it should have the same contents as your OS X Documents folder.
    10. If you would like to unmount your shared folder, you can either just log out of Ubuntu or do:

      % fusermount -u Documents_OSX
    11. (Optional) I created this quick-and-dirty Python script that I saved as ~/bin/mount_sshfs (with executable permissions) and added to my session startup items (System > Preferences > Sessions > Startup programs tab):

      import os
      import sys
      import getopt
      host = ''
      mount_points = [('/Users/dave/Music', '/home/dave/Music'),
              ('/Users/dave/Documents', '/home/dave/Documents'),
              ('/Users/dave/Pictures', '/home/dave/Pictures')]
      def main(argv=None):
          if argv is None:
              argv = sys.argv
              opts, args = getopt.getopt(argv[1:], 'u', ['unmount'])
          except getopt.error, msg:
              print msg
              print 'for help use --help'
          mount_op = mount
          for option, a in opts:
              if option in ('-u', '--unmount'):
                  mount_op = unmount
          return 0
      def mount():
          argv = ['/usr/bin/sshfs', None, None]
          for mount in mount_points:
              argv[1] = '%s:%s' % (host, mount[0])
              argv[2] = mount[1]
              cmd = ' '.join(argv)
              print cmd
      def unmount():
          argv = ['/usr/bin/fusermount', '-u', None]
          for mount in mount_points:
              argv[2] = mount[1]
              cmd = ' '.join(argv)
              print cmd
      if __name__ == '__main__':
      I save this as ~/bin/mount_sshfs and change its permissions to be executable. Whenever I login to Ubuntu, my OS X folder /Users/dave/Music is available in Ubuntu as /home/dave/Music.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Re: HOWTO: Share folders between OS X and virtualized Ubuntu with Parallels and sshfs

    Thanks a lot for this great description! I needed to change only the following to make it work immediately:
    - The autorization file is named ~/.ssh/ (not
    - When sharing the Documents folder with sshfs the command is:
    sshfs osxusername@ Documents_OSX

    The Python script is perfect when changing:
    host = 'osxusername@'
    mount_points = ['/Users/osxusername/Documents', 'home/username/Documents_OSX']



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