## File-Sharing under Linux, using Usershares – the Modernistic Way.

One concept which readers may already know, is that under Linux, we can set up a Samba-server, which makes the sharing-out of our home directories possible, and that if we fiddle with the ‘smb.conf’ configuration file thoroughly enough, it becomes possible to browse the available shares on a LAN, in a way semi-compatible with Windows computers that also reside on the same LAN.

Traditionally, this has always been a bit of a PITA, especially since the ‘/etc/samba/smb.conf’ configuration files have been finicky, and since each share practically needs to be configured individually, by a person with the ‘root’ password.

Well an alternative exists under Linux as well, which is the concept of ‘Usershares’. With this concept, each user who belongs to a specific group has the privilege, of designating a folder within his desktop manager, to share out, pointing-and-clicking. This is closer in ease-of-use, to how the process works under Windows. But, it needs to be set up correctly once, by the sysadmin, before it will work as often as simple users wish it to work.

I think that an existing Web-article on the subject, already explains well, what the settings in the ‘smb.conf’ file need to be, as well as what directories need to exist, in order for usershares to work. Except that the article I just linked to, refers to Fedora and SELinux systems and their norms. I happen to be based on Debian and KDE 4 or Plasma 5. And so I have a few observations to add:

Firstly, the following packages should be installed, under Debian also:


#apt-get install kdenetwork samba



Secondly, ‘/etc/samba/smb.conf’ needs to be edited like so:

Under Debian, the directory ‘/var/lib/samba/usershares’ already exists, If the relevant packages are installed. And its permission-bits have already been set as they should be set. Only, the feature is not configured in ‘smb.conf’ by default. And, the additional package named ‘kdenetwork-filesharing’ needs to be installed, in order for the tab to appear in Dolphin’s File-Properties box, that enables sharing from the GUI. Aside from that, enabled users need to be added to the ‘sambashare’ group, after which this membership only goes into effect, once the user in question has started a new session…

(Info Corrected 03/25/2018, 17h10,

Updated again 03/28/2018 … )

## eGroupWare Installed

Under Linux, or on several Web-server installations, there exists a Web-application, which is written in PHP scripts, named “eGroupWare”. This is particularly easy to install under Debian / Linux.

Its purpose to to allow an administrative user to grant numerous non-administrative users access to tools, which allow the coordination of projects, timetables, and the booking of (any, symbolized) resources. It allows for notifications to be sent out, as well as for some socializing to take place between registered users. It also allows for its own WiKi to be created, and a custom Web-page. It is extensible through numerous apps that exist within.

Most importantly, each user has complex Access Control Lists, which control in great detail what aspects of the functioning of objects he is allowed to decide. Obviously, the main administrative user has his ACLs set to allow access to everything, including the editing of the ACLs themselves.

I have installed and started eGroupWare on this server. But my great failing in this is, that currently, I am also the only user, even though I could invite people to visit and receive accounts from me, and to collaborate through this site.

Without an actual user population, this is just a fun game to play for me, in administering my Web-site in general.

Dirk

(Edit 11/05/2016 : ) It is a fact that while I was installing eGroupWare on this machine, because the same machine also hosts my blog, my blog was offline for a few minutes, around 15h08 November 3. This happened in fact, because I was making ad-hoc changes to a suggested configuration script belonging to the Debian-packaged version of eGroupWare, in hopes of making this Web-application more secure. These changes of mine prevented me from restarting the Apache server, until I edited them back out. And so, by 15h27 that same night, my server was back up.

I had assumed that nobody would notice, as this outage really only lasted a few minutes, and I was not experiencing heavy traffic at that time.

And as it turned out, there was a more-correct way to change the configuration, than the method I had been trying – to edit that file.