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I would like to use a vm ubuntu installation as my testing environment, but to ease workflow, I have symlinked /var/www to a windows share. Everything looks good when browsing files and the owner and group both are showing up as www-data, but I can not seem to get apache to respond with anything other than permission denied. Obviously there are still some permission issues between Windows 7 and Ubuntu, but I don't know where to go

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How exactly are you mounting the filesystem on the Ubuntu side? –  Zoredache Dec 10 '12 at 16:37
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It sounds like this is a problem with Apache permissions/settings, rather than Windows (filesystem) permissions. Apache won't execute scripts, etc in the /var/www directory unless you've modified the conf file to tell it to do that. Generally, you'd want to do that on a subdir-by-subdir basis anyway.

To test if this is the case, put a very simple test html file at the root of /var/www and see if you can access it from your apache server.

IIRC, you also need to make sure any kind of script has the execute permission flag set, i.e. r-xr-x--.

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most permissions are 755. i have my vhosts set up just like i would on a regular apache installation. it points to the right place but then gives me a "You don't have permission to access / on this server." –  wdhilliard Dec 10 '12 at 16:10
    
Have you tried explicitly referencing a filename in the url? Based on the response you quoted, I'm thinking you're doing a "GET /" request and it doesn't know what file to return and isn't allowing index display. Can you post the <Directory /var/www> portion of your conf file? –  1.618 Dec 10 '12 at 16:30
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