Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

DesktopBSD day 23 – Accessing Network Shares

I know, I promised to write about America’s Army. Well, installing that didn’t work out. The only hard disk that actually agrees with *BSD is 6+ Gb and installing America’s Army on that one via ports was a bit too much. I am still looking for a solution.

In the mean time I moved on to the next experiment: trying to access network shares. It’s not uncommon to find small networks in the homes of end-users. Sharing files in a Windows-only network is very simple. A nice wizard helps you to set it up. In a mixed network of Windows and Linux or *BSD it requires a little bit more. What tools does DesktopBSD provide to help you access the network shares?

The swiss army knife: Konquerer

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Konquerer is a very versatile tool and very powerful. When you launch it you find a hyperlink to Network Folders. This in turn reveals a new page with three icons: Network Services, Samba Shares and Add a Network folder.

desktopbsd-day23-networkshares-1.png

Here’s where you need the extra knowledge. If you want to access network shares on Windows computers, those are mounted via the SMB-protocol. Double-clicking on Samba Shares brings up a new windows. First you will only notice the Mshome icon. MSHome is the default name Windows uses for it’s workgroups. Of course, it should be one of the first steps to alter that. Security has to start somewhere. It takes some seconds for the other network shares to appear, in my case a shared folder on the Ubuntu laptop.

desktopbsd-day23-networkshares-2.png

The network shares are now accessible and ready for use.

The icon Add a Network folder launches a wizard with which you can add various types of network drives: WebDAV, FTP, Microsoft Windows network drive or SSH.

desktopbsd-day23-networkshares-3.png

Of course you have the needed information to fill in the blanks and you are ready to go.

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Conclusions

This experiment was very simple, but it does show how much progress has been made in the open source world. There is no need to hack obscure text files in order to share folders and files. Yes, you do need some background information, but that is supposed to be part of education and/or training during a migration strategy.

The future? Dolphin

Kubuntu 7.10 comes with a “new” filemanager, Dolphin. On it’s website it clearly states it is not meant as a replacement for Konquerer:

Dolphin is not intended to be a competitor to Konqueror: Konqueror acts as universal viewer being able to show HTML pages, text documents, directories and a lot more, whereas Dolphin focuses on being only a file manager. This approach allows to optimize the user interface for the task of file management.

I have played with it under Kubuntu and was looking forward to installing it under DesktopBSD. However, both the package and the port failed to install. I can only encourage to keep an eye out for Dolphin.

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