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Re: Linux over Network to Windows

David R. Litwin wrote:

>     So the central machine has both W2K and Debian?
> It does.
>     Trying to access files from both the Windows partition and the Debian
>     partition over the network is fraught with pitfalls
> Alright. To make things easier (since I won't be using the central
> computer much when I get the laptop), we'll say the the central one
> will run only Win2K with NTFS. I'm not yet willing to change the NTFS
> to FAT32.

NTFS if fine since you'll be sharing your files over the network.
Windows will handle the NTFS issues, and share the files via
smb-over-ethernet. Ethernet is standard, so no problem there, and most
of the Windows smb stuff has been reverse-engineered by the Samba team,
so that shouldn't be much issue either.

FAT32 would only be necessary if Debian needed direct read/write access
to the Windows partitions. But as mentioned above, that's not the case
when sharing the partitions from within Windows over the network, so
again, NTFS is fine.

>     >How does one set up a network?
>     That's a tremendously broad question.
> I know this well. Are there any good howtos?

Not with the broadness of the question, no. Now if you want to limit
your question to something like "How do I wire a 10BaseT network at the
hardware/wiring level", the probably so. Or if you want to ask "How do I
configure an X-Brand wireless router to serve DHCP addresses to only
certain NIC addresses", again, probably so. But the generic question
"How does one set up a network" is just too broad to point you to any

> Once you have the wireless in place, just get
>     a Linux-compatible wireless card for the laptop.
> How do I get "the wireless in place"?
> I need internet access [on both the laptop and the W2K "server"]. This
> [laptop connection] will be wireless [and the server will be wired]. I
> have one signal coming in to the house. This currently goes directly
> to a modem, then to an ethernet in the central computer. If I want
> wireless at the same time as the central computer is connected, I need
> a router, yes? How do I set this up properly so that both computers
> can be connected and be accessing, say, different web-pages
> simultaneously? Does this help at all?

Ah, yes.

Buy a router with both wired and wireless connections. The ones around
$40-$80 will probably have three or four wired ports, and a wireless
capability for more connections.

Basically you unplug your W2K box from the modem, plug the
wireless/wired router into the modem, and then plug your W2K box into
the router. Then you'll use your web browser on Windows to connect to
the router (the paperwork that comes with the router will tell you how).
You'll want to turn on wireless networking in the router if it's not
already on, and you'll want to secure that wireless signal in some way,
such as by using WEP (Wireless Encrcyption Protocol) or by limiting
connections to certain hardware addresses, etc.

Then if your laptop has wireless capability, you should be able to surf
the web, etc wirelessly, independently of the W2K box. If setting up
wireless on your laptop is daunting, you can start with a wired
connection, using another wired port on the router. (Kind of silly to
tether a laptop that way, but it'll get you started along the road of
figuring out what you're doing.)

> So using smbmount gives me access to windows files if it is booted in
> to windows.


> Accessing Debian files is possible but very hard. Have I got this
> properly?

If the central computer is booted into Windows, yes, this is correct.

> The printer can be shared out from the central computer when it's booted
>     into Windows or into Debian. The laptop can then print to the printer
>     using Samba (if the central computer is running Windows) or via
>     several
>     methods if the central computer is booted into Debian. 
> So, Debian on Laptop, Windows on Central Computer, use Samba to print.
> That seems easy enough.
>     But the easiest
>     way would be to do what someone else suggested; get a wireless access
>     point that supports a printer, and print via the WAP (of course, this
>     assumes you have a real printer and not one of those rip-off
>     winprinters
>     which I can almost guarantee you have).
> What is a WAP?

See the previous portion of the sentence: a "wireless access point".

> My Printer is an HP DeskJet 842C. Is this a "real printer"?

I'm not sure. As a general rule I'm suspicious of Deskjets, but I have a
vague memory/feeling that the 842 may be "real".

However, since you're going to leave your central computer running 24x7
in Windows, if sharing the printer from the router doesn't work (of if
your router doesn't function as a print server), you can share the
printer from Windows, and print to it use Samba (and probably CUPS).

> As I mentioned above, let's make things easier and say it will always
> run Win2K. If it would make it easier, why don't we set up a
> "dedicated server"? Are there any draw-backs to this? (And, by the
> bye, is there any reason to turn off the central computer, or can I
> just turn off the screen at night?)

Well, since it's Windows, a reboot every week or so will probably be
necessary (just be thankful it's not pre-W2K). And most system
updates/patches require a reboot.

But other than that, and the risk of having a Windows box on the
internet 24x7 (you might want to get a router with a firewall), and the
electricity cost, no, there's not any real reason to turn off the
central computer. Turning off the monitor should be sufficient in most
situations (YMMV).


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