New SAMBA Versions have some Conflict With the Old Ones.

Many desktop users are accustomed to the ability, to open “a network share” on a remote computer – acting as the LAN server – and then to be able to drag-and-drop, or to copy-and-paste files to and from a folder that represents this remote server, on our local client.

Under Linux, this has largely been duplicated.

But what many users are less-aware of, is the fact that this ability is commonly provided by a Microsoft protocol named ‘SMB’ or, ‘Server Message Block’.

Even though Linux has its own network drives via ‘NFS’, many Linux computers have been tuned to access the SMB protocol, through a Linux version of it named “Samba”. This is largely possible, because the first version of SMB, was not fully owned by Microsoft.

But the existence of Samba servers and clients under Linux, is what provides this ability, and in order to have Samba running, we also need to have elaborate configuration scripts.

What some Linux users may additionally not know, is that even if we have tweaked our ‘smb.conf‘ files to the maximum, our most up-to-date Samba versions will no longer be compatible with older Linux implementations.

On my LAN, I typically have 4 computers which are constantly connected:

  • Phoenix – This Linux server,
  • Mithral – A Powerful Windows client,
  • Walnut – An Ancient, Linux server which is by now obsolete,
  • Klystron – That powerful Linux laptop which has problems, sometimes difficult to distinguish if they are happening at the same time.

 

There is no specific reason why the behavior of ‘Walnut‘ should affect the other servers, even though this example is an ancient platform according to standards today.

And yet only recently I found, that Klystron could not connect to the share on Phoenix, even though Klystron seemed to have unrestricted access to the WAN. Furthermore, both Klystron and Walnut seemed to indicate, that there was no Workgroup to be found.

This problem was resolved, when I rebooted Walnut. Apparently, Walnut sometimes ‘thinks’ that it is supposed to act as the Workgroup Server, even though its smb.conf file says otherwise, and then it determines that certain clients are not a part of that Workgroup.

And then, after I just rebooted Walnut, Klystron and Phoenix were able to connect again. Sigh.

Dirk

 

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