What do you use to share file-system (and printing) resources among Linux boxes (I mean, no windows box present... ;-) over a LAN?

I mean: do you use Samba? or do you stick with NFS? or any other solution?

  • This depends totally on your use-case: Are users synchronized between the Linux boxes? – Eugen Rieck Jan 5 '12 at 11:54

A lot depends on what you are trying to achieve and how your system (in terms of users and authentication) is set up

  • NFS, easy access to files and directories on different machines, built into Linux and a lot of distributions provide a GUI to help make setup easy. But, you will have to watch out for permissions for different users and may need to have a common logon system (LDAP for example). NFS directory shares are usually mounted at system startup or auto-mounted and apply to the whole machine and all users on it.
  • Samba, designed to support the Windows CIFS file sharing. Samba shares could be mounted machine wide in the same way as NFS but could also be accessed by individual users.
  • rsync, if you only need the ability to synchronize files/directories between machines then rsync may be suitable for you. It will not require synchronised user accounts between machines.

And for printers

  • consider what support your Linux distrubutions already has and go with what is easiest to setup and use
  • IPP, internet printing protocol, may be automatically and easily supported by your distro.
  • CUPS, Common Unix Printing System is another

I do everything over SSH and i'll always try to avoid Samba. I always had problems with it even if i would call it usable in some cases (like sharing between Windows and Linux). NFS is very stable but needs some configuration.

If you just want to mount a remote filesystem without any configuration you should use http://fuse.sourceforge.net/sshfs.html! Its not as fast as NFS but surely more stable then samba.

For Printing i would suggest you http://www.masella.name/technical/sshlpr.html. It does printing over ssh.

There are some good side effects of doing things over ssh:

  • its encrypted
  • almost no setup if machine is running ssh
  • you can do reverse mounts/prints through firewalls
  • follows symlinks

Running ssh is a good idea in most cases anyway.

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