I recently got an Apple II workstation card, which provides AppleTalk support to an enhanced //e or greater.
Unfortunately (though I knew this when I bought it), it did not come with the required adapter box that actually makes the connection between the connector pins and the LocalTalk cabling. I figured that this would be something I could solve later. I may be forced to attempt to build my own adapter, in fact, because I don’t know where I’m going to be able to find one of the dongles (except maybe if another Workstation card comes up for auction, that has it). But that is probably something that can be done without a great deal of effort, once I know the pinouts, so I’ll work on that.
After seeing the video of Ivan Drucker demonstrating how to netboot a //e and IIgs at KansasFest 2011, I have decided that I absolutely must set this up. Ivan has packaged it all up as A2SERVER, and so I will definitely give this a try. On the Apple II end, one needs either one of these Workstation cards, or a IIgs (or, probably, the LC PDS IIe card, which has the Workstation card built in). To get from LocalTalk to ethernet, one needs a bridge, and this function can be performed by a Mac running MacOS 7.1 through 8.1 or below with the LocalTalk Bridge driver. I expect that I’ll use my Performa 6116CD to perform the bridging function, since it has both a serial printer port and an Ethernet port. And out of the box, it is notoriously dog-slow. As it happens, I also was fortunate enough to get a Sonnet G3 upgrade board for it, though I haven’t verified that it works. I plugged it in, but there may be some software I’ll need to set up to enable it, since booting up the 6116CD after installing the accelerator didn’t seem to have any obvious effect on the speed. Because the heat-sink on the Sonnet Crescendo is a nice purple color, I’ll include pictures of it as well. You’re welcome.
As for the server itself, I will probably run it on either the iMac G4 1GHz, or one of the PowerMac G4s—something that can run Leopard, which is the prerequisite for the simplest installation of A2SERVER.
The IIgs can basically netboot out of the box, though it might take a little bit of tinkering. The Workstation card will probably go in the platinum //e once I’ve replaced its power supply and tried fixing its keyboard (and, I suppose, built a dongle). Netbooting the LC II PDS IIe card is somewhat less interesting, but I’ll probably set it up to do that as well. Without further Workstation cards, I think that’s about as far as I can go. I do have one more //e, but I still haven’t verified that it is enhanced, and I have a bare //e motherboard about to arrive that I’m considering putting inside one of the PowerMac G4 cases (if it fits), so that might also be a (distant future) candidate for a Workstation card. For the ][+es, I think the options are pretty limited. I do have a Focus card on order, which can at least serve as a hard drive, but I am not sure it works in a ][+ [Edit: Tony Diaz confirms that it will]. None of the //c line ever had real AppleTalk capability, but they do have serial ports, so connecting to the outside world (even just via software) is not out of the question. If I were to get a 6502A into one of the ][+es, the Uthernet card should work to connect to the outside world, if I were able to get one, which I’m not.