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Recipe 23.17. Connecting Linux Clients to a Samba File Server or Peer Network

23.17.1 Problem

The Linux users on your LAN need to be able to access your Samba file server, or gain access to the domains or workgroups. And they want nice, simple-to-use graphical LAN browsers for finding things.

23.17.2 Solution

Linux hosts need to have Samba installed (see Recipe Recipe 23.2). Then, there are several good graphical LAN browsers to choose from:


This gets my vote as the best Linux graphical LAN browser. It has a nice, clean appearance, and it's easy to use. The one possible downside is that it requires KDE, so if you're not already a KDE user, you'll need to install kdebase and Konqueror.


This is a nice, easy, point-and-click GUI frontend for Samba and smbmount. LinNeighborhood is independent of any window manager or desktop environment, so it will run in any X environment.

Konqueror, the KDE file manager

Enter smb:// in the URL bar to show all available workgroups. Konqueror depends on LISA, the LAN information manager service, which is installed by default in most distributions. "lisa" packages are available in both .debs and RPMs, if you need to add it.

Nautilus, the Gnome file manager

Enter smb:// in the URL bar to show all available workgroups.

23.17.3 Discussion

If Linux users wish to share files, set up the shares like any Samba file server, as in Recipe 23.2. The client portion of Samba can be installed separately, for users who only need share access and don't want to share files themselves.

If smb4k doesn't automatically find your workgroup, go to Settings Configure smb4k Network Network Search and click "smbclient." The default is nmblookup, but smbclient often works better. See Figure 23-6 for a picture of smb4k.

Figure 23-6. The smb4k browser

LinNeighborhood usually requires a bit of configuration. Go to Edit Preferences. Under the Scan tab, enter the name of your master browser, which in this chapter is "windbag." On the Miscellaneous tab, you can enter a default username and select your default mount directory. This should be in your home directory, something like /home/carla/mnt. On the Post Mount tab, configure your default file manager. Be sure to hit Save on every tab, and after you close the Preferences menu, click Edit Save Preferences.

You can bring up a menu for logging in as different users on different shares simply by clicking on the share you want.

Figure 23-7 shows LinNeighborhood in action. Every PC in your workgroup is displayed. Double-click or right-click on the directory you want to use. This will open the Mount dialog, which lets you use the default mount directory or specify a new one.

Figure 23-7. The LinNeighborhood network browser

The nice thing about Konqueror and Nautilus is that you don't need to explicitly mount the shares; you just manipulate the files as though they were stored locally. This can get tricky, though. For example, when you access a read-only share in Konqueror, it appears to let you edit or add files to the share. But it's an illusion—they do not really get changed or added. You can save any changes to your local drive, but not to the share.

23.17.4 See Also

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