"My problem is I can't open this database unless the others are closed."
Something is not set up correctly or you wouldn't encouter this problem.
How are you sharing your databases? They should be opened by one computer using either filemaker pro or filemaker server. Then your other users would connect to this file using "open Remote" from their individual copies of filemaker or they'd use their web browsers if you've set it up to be published to the web.
Is that what you are doing?
If you aren't publishing to the web, does each user have a different license for filemaker or have you installed the same copy on each machine?
I have different licenses on each machine so that would not be the problem. I have one database opened on a machine that gets new records created with applescript automatically. I simply have the file open on the machine without any type of sharing. The other database used for searches I want to open on another machine. This database doesn't really have it's own table but uses the fields of the othe database to display information. I do not want to change or add any records from this DataBase. I can't open this database until I close the first one. I get an error "NameOfDatabase" could not be oened. (Permission Denied). I'm not really opening the first database, it's just an external database within the one I'm using to search for information.
I'm not really opening the first database...
Actually you are opening the other database as that is the only way you can read data from it. You can set up your "search" database to open the first database with a password that does not permit editing or deleting records. That should enable you to do what you want without risking modification of the data. You will have to enable sharing on the first file, however.
I see... So unless I share the database and have it open on the host machine no two machines can have that database open simultaneously. There is no other way around this other than buying the server version. Is this correct?
I'm not really sure I see the problem you are trying to avoid here. You can open the file with one copy of filemaker Pro and your other users can use open remote to link to it or open a second database such as you describe and it uses the same method to link to it.
If you need the added features for server, you can it to host the file instead of filemaker pro, but the basic setup here is the same.
I want to backup the database several times a day with my backup software. How do you back it up if the file is open? You can't even copy the file while it is being shared. How does one go about the backup process with this shared feature turned on? Seems like a pain to manually shut it down, asking users to disconnect....
Ok, in that case, your best solution technology wise is to get a copy of filemaker server as it can back up your files hourly without closing the files.
It takes some scripting but you can do this with filemaker pro as the host application as you can save a copy from the host computer. You'd use a looping script with a 3600 second Pause step or set up an Install Ontimer script with a similar interval.