Re: exploring a M$ network
Konqueror is one of the easiest ways to go. Install samba and konqueror
(yeah, if you're on GNOME, that means all of KDE...but it really makes
it easy to use), and put "smb://" in the location bar. Assuming you
have no network or firewall problems, it will let you quickly and easily
browse the Windows networks and shares. (KDE also makes it fairly easy
to create shares.)
Another option is Nautilus...I think you can also use "smb://" there,
but in my experience (not with the latest version), it didn't work as
well as Konq.
Another option is LinNeighborhood. A bit crude-looking, but quite
Another option is raw smbclient. Probably not what you're looking for.