Monday, November 1, 1999

Sharing Linux drives with Samba


By Mark Lawson

If you want to be able to see your Linux directories on your PC, then Samba is for you. If you're a Windows person, you can make life easier if you can use Samba to access the disks on the Linux box as if they were on an NT server. Originally developed by Andrew Tridgell at the Australian National University, Samba implements the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol, allowing files and printers on Linux to be shared with clients such as Windows for Workgroups, DOS, OS/2, Windows NT and others.

Simply put, Samba makes a Linux system behave as if it were a Windows NT box. This is very useful if you want to copy IDs or log files on and off your Linux box. It's also useful if you want to configure files using the familiar Notepad from the comfort of your PC or just look around. Here is the five-minute guide to Samba:

Make sure you have TCP/IP and Client for Microsoft Networks configured on your PC.

Make a note of your WorkGroup setting on the Identification tab (in the Windows Network Control Panel). Ours is ELECMEMO.

On your Linux box, login as "root". If you have Domino running don't worry, just press Alt-F2 to get a new terminal (wonderful isn't it? Alt-F1 to Alt-F6 function normally).

Now type "pico /etc/smb.conf" to edit the configuration file. It's quite long and a bit daunting but you only have to change a couple of things.

First, near the top, change the work group setting to match your Windows workgroup (remember, mine was ELECMEMO).

Further down, uncomment the two "encrypt password" and "passwd file" lines.

Towards the bottom modify and uncomment the "fred's private directory example" as shown below. This also shows the other modifications with the rest of the file removed for clarity.

 # workgroup = NT-Domain-Name or Workgroup-Name
 workgroup = ELECMEMO

 encrypt passwords = yes
 smb passwd file = /etc/smbpasswd

 # A private directory, usable only by fred. Note that fred requires write
 # access to the directory.
  comment = Domino Data
  path = /home/notesdata
  valid users = notes
  public = no
  writable = yes
  printable = no

Save the file with Ctrl-O and exit with Ctrl-X.

Now run "smbpasswd -a notes" and when prompted give the Notes user password.

Stop Samba running with the command "/etc/rc.d/init.d/smb stop". Don't worry if you get "FAILED" messages. This only means it wasn't running.

Restart Samba with "/etc/rc.d/init.d/smb start" You should get two "OK" messages.

Go to your Windows PC and log in as user "notes". Go to Network Neighborhood and you should see your server and inside that a folder called "notes" (the home directory of the "notes" user) and another called "notesdata".