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I have a rather strange problem trying to configure settings for shared folders under Debian 4.0. I'm admittedly somewhat of a Linux newbie. I have a home network with 4 PCs. One is running Windows XP, one is running Mepis 6.5, one is running Kubuntu 7.04, and this one running Debian 4.0. They are all connected through a Netgear router, the Kubuntu machine wireless. All of the machines show up in the Samba shares window, the Mepis, Debian and XP machines under the windows network name and the Kubuntu machine as a NFS (Ithink) server under an icon titled "Workgroup." I can access the shared directories on all the machines except the Debian machine without a problem. When I access the Debian machine it gives me an empty folder. When I go into the shared folder choice on the system menu on the Debian machine, it asks for the root password, then gives me a window with no choices that doesn't respond to any inputs. I finally end up terminating the window and the next time I log on it asks me for the root password then loads an unresponsive window again. Two questions - why is it doing this? Is there a configuration file I can manually edit to fix it? Any input is appreciated.
If anyone is wondering why I have three different distros on three different computers, as I said, I'm basically a newbie deciding what I like. The Kubuntu machine is primarily a jukebox. I like Mepis, but thought I'd try Debian since that is what both are based on. I switched from the gnome to the kde desktop since I prefer that. I like Debian a lot, but this network problem is frustrating.
If your Windows XP computer can see it, then it's not nfs--it's using samba. It seems that your Debian machine does have samba installed (you probably told it to install the "file server" suite in the installer). However, the default samba install in Debian doesn't share anything, AFAIK. Maybe it shares users home folders; I don't recall. In any case, you have to configure samba to do what you want.
There are some GUI tools for configuring samba, but I'm not familiar with them. I just manually edit /etc/samba/smb.conf and use the command /etc/init.d/samba restart to restart the samba daemon after making changes to smb.conf. The way Debian works, you have a choice of either manually editing configuration files or using GUI tools. It works the same way in Ubuntu, which is based on Debian.
Because Ubuntu is so similar to Debian, you can just copy bits of smb.conf from your Ubuntu install to the Debian install.
Oh, when I was first using Linux I tried using KDE's file server GUI configuration utility, but I quickly gave up on it because I couldn't figure out how to get it to do exactly what I wanted. I decided to just go straight to smb.conf, and to my pleasant surprise found that it was actually easier to manually edit it directly.
I went into the smb.conf file and found that the folders were set as "browseable = no." I changed it to yes and now the folders are visible on the the Mepis machine and, I imagine, the Kubuntu machine although I haven't checked yet. The machine is visible on the XP machine but since both partitions are set as reiserfs format, it won't read them. That machine is my fiancee's, so she doesn't care if she can access my files. Occassionally I need something off her machine. When I get a bigger hard drive I'll put a Windows readable partition on here, but for now I only have a 3.5 and 2.5g hard drive available. Thanks for the help. I won't even bother with the GUI tools anymore. I always was more of a command line person back when I started in Windows, so I should be right at home in Linux once I learn a little more. Any one have any suggestions on good books on Debian. From what I've seen I think I like it better than Mepis now that I've got it loaded. It was a little trickier to get installed but seems quicker.
For accessing samba shares, the client computer doesn't need the ability to read whatever file system the server is using. Only the server needs the ability to read/write the file system.
My experience with getting Windows to successfully access my samba shares is that it's not easy, but it's doable. I don't know exactly how, and it will depend on what level of access you want (and what you want to do with multiple users, and so on). I just fiddled with various settings and after hours of frustration would eventually stumble on a combination of settings which would work. So I'm no expert...I just fumbled around until I got something functional.