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I've got an ubuntu 8.04 system with a 2.2TB raid array that is the central storage for my home network. I've got several Windows XP Pro systems that I want to have read/write access to the linux storage, and I'd also like to be able to mount some Windows directories when I'm in linux.

What's the most transparent, trouble-free way to share files? I tried Samba a long time ago but I didn't like it (sorry I can't remember exactly why, I think it was issues with permissions/attributes). Then I installed Windows Services for Unix and got NFS going. I've been using that for a year, but it's still not quite there (it gags on files >2GB and every time I reboot windows I get an error message).

So I'm curious how other people have implemented this...what works best?

CLARIFICATION: I need the server to run on Ubuntu 8.04 - that's where my MythTV backend is, and since the two things I want running 24/7 are the backend and the file server, I'd like them running on the same machine to save power.

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yeah, the problem with samba, IMHO is the fact that when it creates files on the linux machine there is a 8 char username limit and , while that works fine, its annoying for a techy like me. –  djangofan Aug 14 '09 at 15:23
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@djangofan: don't know what you're talking about, my samba shares have full long utf8 names –  Javier Aug 14 '09 at 21:31
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7 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Samba is probably the best way. There's a learning curve, to be sure, but in the long run it is probably the easiest and most standard way for a bunch of windows computers to get at files off of a Linux server. Most Linux distributions should have a "default" configuration which you can use to get 90% of the way to where you want to be.

Otherwise you could use WinSCP in Explorer mode and people can get/put files that way.

There is also a Filesystem-Over-SSH tool for windows, but I've never used it.

NFS on Windows is probably a bad idea -- it has been in the past. Every time I've tried it I've had performance and access problems galore.

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s/probably/definitely/ –  Javier Aug 14 '09 at 21:26
    
Samba's working fine - not sure what my original concern was. Thanks. –  Fred Hamilton Aug 24 '09 at 1:44
    
Since he is using the old version 8.04 of ubuntu, it might have SSHD 4.x and if it does, then the FTP subsystem of SSHD might now work right for the "tool" you mention above. –  djangofan Feb 1 '12 at 3:49
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Maybe iFolder comes pretty close to what you are looking for.

Unfortunately, there aren't official packages for Ubuntu AFAIK. Anyway, here's a step by step guide to set it up on Ubuntu 9.04.

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Look into a NAS dirtrobution such has FreeNAS (Based on FreeBSD) or OpenFilter (Based on Linux). They really do make sharing files simple and even help with back up.

I personally have been using FreeNAS at home serving NFS, Samba, iSCSI (for VMWare) for a while now.

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I am trying OpenAFS, which is a distributed and shared file system with clients for everything Unix, Linux, OSX and Windows. I don't know yet if it is good, but this is probably worth a try.

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I've never tried it but I've "heard" that using an Apache server with a "writeable" website is a hip thing to do (protect it with a firewall) using something like this: http://www.g-loaded.eu/2008/12/09/making-a-directory-writable-by-the-webserver/

Also, Windows7/Vista allows you to MAP-a-drive via FTP protocol. Thats what I would recommend if you use Windows 7: http://www.redmondpie.com/access-ftp-sites-natively-in-windows-7/

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What might work, although might be over complicated, would be to use iSCSI target and use ntfs as the file system, making sure that you have the NTFS writeable drivers/libs on the linux systems, and iSCSI initiators on all systems.

The only things i see going wrong are

1) single map/target (i haven't tested multiple yet)

2) not having correct write abilities across the nix platforms.

3) a max number of connections at a time to the Targets

4) security issues

Like I said, this might be over complicated, but I am pretty sure you won't have a file size issue, iSCSI is pretty fast, and from the machine point of view the shared medium would look like a local drive. Security would be handled on having user/key based connections to the target(s), and having separate targets/LUNs for each share.

Just a thought, i don't see to much iSCSI in use in the wild, but from the little testing i have done its works pretty darn good.

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Trying to share an iSCSI target between multiple clients isn't easy, and can seriously hose things if you get it wrong. –  David Mackintosh Aug 14 '09 at 16:08
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Probably an overkill. But if you are concerned about taming Samba's configuration file, then Ebox comes with a simple point and click interface that allow you to manage your shares at ease.

Screenshot: http://trac.ebox-platform.com/screenshots/28

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