Using Samba to Share Files

Files between computers on a home network can be easily shared by using samba. Most Linux systems already have samba-common installed. This is sufficient to receive and give files to any computer that is connected to the network and has samba installed, but apparently does not exchange with computers that have only samba-common. The file browser is generally the tool used to find foreign files. In pcmanfm, click Go>Network Drives to find other directories and USB storage devices connected to the network hub.

(1) On computers who have files that you want to share to another computer, install samba using synaptic, or

         sudo apt-get install samba.

(2) Create a password for the user, for example, for a user named me:

         sudo smbpasswd -a me,

and follow the prompts.

(3) Make a directory named public in your home directory (~/public).

(4) As root, edit the file /etc/samba/smb.conf by adding exactly (copy and paste) the following to the very end of the file:

         path = ~/public
         available = yes
         valid users = me
         read only = no
         browsable = yes
         public = yes
         writable = yes

(5) Other Linux computers should now be able to locate ~/public by using the Network entry in their file browser's tool bar, or by putting into the file browser's address bar the following:


where server-name is the name of the server computer (name after @ in terminal greeting).

(6) If the above does not work for you, then install gvfs and gvfs-backends (in particular, gvfs-smb):

         sudo apt-get install gvfs gvfs-backends,

which hopefully will take care of any mounting problems.

(7) My experience with Windows operating systems barely extends beyond XP. So keep that in mind here. You should be able to find the linux directory set up by samba by right clicking the Windows computer icon and setting up a network path to ~/public.

To recognize a public folder on Windows, open the folder with Explorer, click the "Share with" tool bar entry (probably left side) to get a Setting menu. Select to share with everyone offered. On the Linux computer Pcmanfm should be able to now find this folder in the usual way.