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I was wondering about peoples experiences with mounting users home directories from an Active Directory authenticated CIFS server under Linux. Preferably the mount would be accomplished upon login instead of mounting every home directory on boot (or just mounting /home) and would be Kerberos/SMB authenticated and authorized. I have looked at two solutions so far:

*Automount - an NFS carry over (currently in a mixed Solaris environment). Supposedly works, but haven't seen examples of user directory mounts for CIFS, only auto_direct. And don't know how well winbind works with AD automount configuration (via SFU or rfc2307)

*pam_mount - Just got out of beta and requires suid on mount.cifs and umount.cifs. Also does not work with SSH. Also prone to leaving directories mounted after logout.

What has everyone's experiences been with this same problem? Could you provide any gotchas or trouble you ran into? Any experiences with FUSE or user space tools?

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3 Answers

I don't know if you mean the CIFS FS will be served from linux or just mounted under linux on the clients.

However many non linux cifs implementations do not support stuff like symlinks and unix sockets so most window managers will die with a non linux cifs home dir.

Auth is no problem you can just use winbindd and you can as you say use pam_mount to actually mount the dirs on loging.

We have 6 labs of about 250 linux/windows dual boots. Their home dirs are mounted from a linux cifs share using AD logon scripts for windows and pam_mount and winbind under linux.

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I have tried doing that on my workstation with pam_mount, and while I did get it working with SSH, I had lots of problems with the mounts staying around after logout.

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What did you have to do to get ssh working? –  bluehavana May 28 '09 at 5:41
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i see the following problems:

  • authentication: how to reuse the linux username/password for the cifs share? PAM can probably solve this
  • multiple user sessions:
    • only mount if the home directory is unmounted
    • after the last session is closed, the cifs share can be unmounted

a nice solution for the second problem would be: linux filesystem namespaces because every session gets its own cifs share mount

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pam_mount addresses both of your concerns. –  florin May 29 '09 at 19:11
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