Is it possible to add an AFP service / protocol to an existing ext3 partition? I have a linux server that I want to share with Apple clients. The clients want to use TIME MACHINE which will only backup to AFP (or a local disk)

I'm hoping there's something like a SAMBA service that I can just add

(Question corrected - originally said HFS by mistake instead of AFP)

2 Answers 2


You can use Netatalk on Linux machines to serve files to OS X computers with AFP. And of course you should use ext3/ext4 filesystem for that.

To install on Debian/Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install netatalk

Installation on CentOS is slightly more complicated.

The configuration file is in /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default. You will have to configure share and enable TimeMachine support (tm option).

Also mind that Apple is slowly phasing out AFP.

You can use TimeMachine to backup to SMB drives. Refer to this post on Ask Different.


HFS is a file system, not a service or protocol. You can format partitions on your Linux server with HFS, but then they're still only available locally on your Linux server. To make data available to a remote computer (e.g. your Apple clients), you could:

  1. On your Linux server, format an external disk with HFS. Unplug the disk and hook it up to your Apple computer, then MacOS should be able to read it.
  2. Or, create a network share (like SMB or NFS) on your Linux computer - apparently Time Machine can use network shares, although it's an unsupported feature.
  • You're right - (I'm new to Mac), I should have said AFP not HFS. That said, can you time machine to an AFP protocol (on an ext3 disk)?
    – TSG
    Mar 13, 2016 at 1:14
  • AFP is still a network protocol, see the link to the Apple SE answer where this is explained.
    – ckujau
    Mar 13, 2016 at 1:24

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