Many of my colleagues use ExpanDrive for connecting to servers over SFTP, since OSX does not have a native client for doing so. ExpanDrive is nice because it integrates with the Finder and mounts a drive, instead of needing to interact with the filesystem using an application, such as FileZilla. However, ExpanDrive is not free, so I don’t use it. Normally, I spend my time developing in an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS virtual machine on VirtualBox, because Nautilus natively supports connections over SFTP.
ExpanDrive recently released an update that didn’t do a great job of announcing that it would be updating the software from version 2 to version 3, which invalidates your current license, and requires you to purchase a v3 license. Therefore, one of my coworkers upgraded to v3 unintentionally and was then locked out of using ExpanDrive until he bought a new license. This experience prompted me to revisit Macfusion as a method of connecting over SFTP from OSX.
Macfusion was built on MacFUSE, which is no longer actively maintained, and does not work with current versions of OSX. However, there is a successor to MacFUSE called OSXFUSE, and Macfusion can be configured to use the SSHFS filesystem plugin for OSXFUSE. Here’s how to get it set up:
- Install OSXFUSE
- Install SSHFS
- Install MacFusion
- Configure MacFusion to use OSXFUSE – open Terminal and run:
1mv sshfs-static sshfs-static.orig
1ln -s /usr/local/bin/sshfs sshfs-static
Now, you can open Macfusion and connect to SFTP shares. There are plenty of other filesystem plugins available – you would just need an OSXFUSE compatible client to leverage them.