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I would like to share files to a number of machines spread in LAN and WAN.

These are the requirements:

  1. (priority: intermediate) Should just work in Windows/MacOS without additional (or very little) configuration.

  2. (priority: high) Windows/MacOS users should be able to work on files directly (not a download-edit&save-upload) cycle.

  3. (priority: intermediate) Should not require additional infrastructure like VPN.

Currently I've evaluated:

  • Ftp sharing. It does not satisfy requirement #2.
  • Samba sharing. Perfect from Windows/MacOS point of view, however WAN unfriendly. (I do not want to configure VPN).

I haven't evaluated NFS.


  1. Are my requirements utopian?
  2. What else should I evaluate?
  3. What is the overkill of configuring NFS in Windows (XP and 7) and MacOS? And most important: Will the users be able to edit files as comfortable as if they were shared through Samba?
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closed as not constructive by Chris S Feb 26 '13 at 14:15

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Look into WebDAV, it's much better suited than Samba over the Internet (needs a VPN!) IMHO, and it can be easily encrypted with SSL. – Sven Feb 26 '13 at 13:35
Have you looked at ownCloud ? (or alternatively Dropbox,, Google Drive) – ptman Feb 26 '13 at 13:35
@ptman What about "download-edit-upload" cycle? – Roman B. Feb 26 '13 at 13:43
The requirement that users be able to work on files directly is probably unreasonable. What happens if two people try to work on the same file? Both of them lose. – Michael Hampton Feb 26 '13 at 13:50
@RomanB. I thought you meant that the users shouldn't have to take care of that (windows still does downloads in the background for cifs, it just uses locks on the server). ownCloud has a syncing client like dropbox etc. so that the user doesn't have to care. – ptman Feb 26 '13 at 13:52

You want WebDAV. It's available for both IIS and Apache (likely others, but those two I'm familiar with). All major OSes can map a WebDAV server as a "drive", so users get the familiar network drive experience.

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