Share home folders between Windows and Linux desktops.
I'd like to thank Bill Boswell for writing such
a great how-to for winbind authentication. [See Bill's Windows Insider
column on Linux single sign-On on the
Redmond Magazine site at
and "Hat Trick" on the
MCPmag.com site at http://mcpmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=976.Editor]
I'm very close to implementing this solution in the Linux lab that
I manage here at Cornell, but the drawback so far is the lack of automatically
mounting Samba drives. Can you recommend a solution for mounting Samba
shares at user login time?
Here at school, we have an H: drive and W: drive (home and web, respectively)
that would facilitate students' learning immenselycurrently
there's no easy way for students to get their files from the Linux side
to the Windows sideif they were automatically mounted and
appeared on the Linux desktop upon login. We are dual-booting Windows
XP/Fedora Core 3 on all of our lab workstations. From everything I've
seen, mounting a Samba share requires something to be run as root, which
I don't like. Is there another solution that you've seen?
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Ian: One of my favorite aspects of working with Linux is
that it completely falls in line with the definition of insanity. With
Linux, many of us have found that you truly can perform the same task
over and over on different Linux boxes and expect a different result.
Usually you'll get it! Since the Linux community has been touting its
many advantages for several years now, it looks like they forgot onehope
for the mentally insane.
Of course, most of the "problems" we run into with Linux is
due to the fact that it is such a customizable and flexible OS (I feel
the need to add this note before some of you Linux diehards start to crucify
me). Flexibility is great, especially when you look at how companies like
VMware and Check Point have bundled some of their applications with a
Linux OS that has been optimized for their particular product. On the
other hand, it makes documenting solutions very challenging. I know...you
get the point! So I'll move on and show you how I solved this problem.
As you've mentioned, mapping drives from the Windows XP workstations
is simple, but accessing the same resources from the Linux workstations
via smbmount is another story. There are a couple of ways to solve this
problem from the Linux workstations. Since your shares reside on a Samba
server, one relatively simple solution is to configure the Samba server
to also act as an NFS server. This way, Windows users can access the shares
using CIFS, and the Linux workstations can have access to the same data
In my test lab, I have a small LAN with a Windows 2003 domain controller,
a Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 4.0 server configured as my Samba server,
along with a Windows XP workstation and a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0
workstation. Winbind authentication is setup on both Linux systems and
the methods that I used to configure winbind are consistent with Bill
Boswell's original articles on the subject.
At this point, I'm making the assumption that you can successfully logon
to both the Windows and Linux workstations as a domain user. To allow
NFS mounts of the shared folders on the Linux server, I first configured
NFS to export my Samba server's home folder share and its public share.
Here's the contents of my /etc/exports file:
My clients were all on the 192.168.0.x LAN, so I configured the NFS exports
to accept connections from any host on the 192.168.0.0/24 network. Both
exported folders were set to allow read and write access. I realize that
this setup is simple (security administrators, don't pop a vein here!),
but for your purpose of sharing data in a single classroom setting it
should work fine. As you'll see, after configuring the client-side settings,
users will only see their own home folder. While all users will be able
to see the public folder, ultimately the permissions of each "public"
subfolder and file would ultimately determine user access.
Now on the client side, I mounted the remote home folders using autofs.
To enable the remote home folder mount, I modified the /etc/auto.master
file on each client to include the line:
This entry will auto-mount the location specified in the /etc/auto.home
file into the /home folder. Next, I created the /etc/auto.home file and
added the following line:
* -fstype=nfs,soft,intr,rsize=8192,wsize=8192,nosuid rhas4-fs1.redmondmag.com:/home/REDMONDMAG
This will redirect the user home folder location to the rhas4-fs1.redmondmag.com:/home/REDMONDMAG
NFS mount point (rhas4-fs1 is the name of my NFS/Samba server).
For the public share, I edited the /etc/fstab file on the Linux workstation
so that it would auto mount the remote "public" folder on boot-up.
Here's the line that I added to /etc/fstab:
rhas4-fs1.redmondmag.com:/usr/public /public nfs rw,soft,intr,rsize=8192,wsize=8192
This will now auto-mount the /usr/public share on the NFS/Samba server.
If you're curious about the NFS mount options that I used, or want more
information on auto-mounting file systems in Red Hat Linux, take a look
Note that with the default Red Hat firewall configuration, NFS traffic
is blocked. For NFS mounts to succeed, IPTables need to be set up to allow
the default NFS port (2049).
While slightly more complex, you may prefer using the package smbpwman.
Smbpwman can collect user passwords at logon and pass them to a smbmount
statement. See http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/smbfs/
for additional details on this method.
Just like there's more than one way to skin a cat, there are plenty of
ways to pluck a penguin. In production, you'll likely be much more restrictive
in the hosts that you allow read and write access to the NFS mounts. Hopefully,
this solution will get you on the path to sharing data between both Windows
and Linux workstations.