This might be too obvious to post for most people, but I'm posting it in case there are other newbies who are as lost as I was a few days ago, and who are having as much trouble finding answers as I did. I didn't even know what words to use for my search.
I'm using Slackware 12.2, and it's my first time with slackware, so I don't know how much any of this applies to previous releases.
I did all the configuration that follows as root. I'm still a little foggy about what to do as root, and what to do as user, but this all looked like root stuff to me.
First, to set up a wireless connection to my local router network, I put this in /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf:
All those lines were already there, I just had to uncomment and/or modify them as needed. For a wired connection on eth0, I could have just used netconfig.
I found out that a wireless connection can be configured either in rc.wireless.conf or in rc.inet1.conf. I decided to do it in rc.inet1.conf. I had a few doubts about some parts at first, even with all the helpful comments and examples in the file, but I ended up getting everything right, and after I rebooted, I was on the network, and on the Internet. Later I learned that instead of rebooting I can rmmod and modprobe the driver, and restart wlan0 with "/etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 wlan0_restart".
Then, after a few hours of searching and reading, I found out that to share files with Windows I needed to use Samba, and I found some help with configuration.
I found out that I needed to:
- set my Samba password (smbpasswd jim)
- make rc.samba executable (chmod a+x /etc/rc.d/rc.samba)
Then I rebooted, because it was the easiest and fastest way for me at that point, in the fog I was in, to start Samba and have the best chance of it working.
I *think* that's all I had to do to use Samba. Somebody let me know if I left out any minimum requirements.
I looked for my Slackware laptop in my Vista network, and there it was! The first time I tried it! A first for me with any new system.
The next part was a little harder. I had no idea how to access my Vista files from Slackware. I didn't even know the right vocabulary to use to ask the question. All I knew to call it was "file sharing." It took a lot of research just to find out how to say it it in *nixish. I still don't really know. I've picked up some new vocabulary like "Vista shares," but I still don't know what search words I could have used to find out how to see my Vista files from slackware.
I spent hours searching without finding any way that didn't require adding something from outside the slackware distribution, or spending dozens of hours in research and experiments, with extremely doubtful results. I thought maybe I could use a browser, but I didn't know what to use for the URL, and none of my guesses worked. I searched around in xfce's Thunar file browser without finding any clues. I switched from xfce to KDE, and found something that looked promising, but it said that I needed to install and activate Lisa. I didn't know until later that Lisa was already installed, and can be activated from the menu. Anyway, I tried that later and it didn't work.
For now, I'm trying to learn what I can do with just the slackware distribution, without adding applications from outside of it.
Finally, I stumbled on a solution by myself. Looking through the xfce Network menu, I saw KNetAttach and decided to find out what it does. I filled in the blanks, and it worked! There I was in the shared Public folder of my Vista laptop! I was really lucky, because after that, it hardly ever worked using the computer name, which is what I used the first time. It worked every time though, using the IP address.
So, for any newbies who stumble across this post, who are looking for what I was looking for, there are lots of things you might try, but here's one place you can start, using only what's in a complete Slackware 12.2 installation:
Choose Microsoft Windows Network Drive
Name: Anything you want to call it.
Server: The IP address of the Windows computer. (See note 1 below)
Folder: The name of the folder as it is listed on the network on the Windows computer.
As I said, I don't know how far back that goes in slackware versions.
Seeing that it starts with a K, I imagine that KNetAttach is part of KDE, so it might require KDE to be installed. It's under "Internet" in the KDE menu, and "Network" in the xfce menu.
Another way to access a shared Windows folder using only the Slackware distribution, is by mounting it as a cifs, like this:
mount -t cifs //192.168.0.100/Public /home/jim/vista -o user=Jim
If there's a PASSWD environment variable, it needs to be set to the right password for the Windows user account. If there is no PASSWD variable in the environment, mount will prompt for a password. If there is a PASSWD variable in the environment, different from the one for the Windows user account, then the password needs to be included in the mount command, like this:
mount -t cifs //192.168.0.100/Public /home/jim/vista -o user=Jim,password=TopSecret.
The only problem is that it puts your password right out in front of everybody. You can get around that with a credentials file, but I haven't learned how to do that yet.
1. For the server, you can try using the computer name as it is listed on the network on the Windows computer. That didn't work for me at first, but later I found out I needed to add "wins" on the "hosts" line in /etc/nsswitch.conf, before "dns", like this:
hosts: files wins dns