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Re: Very Basic Help Needed

Jan Sneep:
> I managed to download and successfully run the latest stable NetInstall
> version last week-end, but now I'm having a very frustrating time finding
> documentation on how to some pretty basic stuff.

Hm, ok. First things first: it is better not to reply to a message on
this list if you start a completely new subject (a "thread", in e-mail

Then: while not perfect, the Debian Reference from
<http://www.us.debian.org/doc/user-manuals#quick-reference> should give
you a lot of hints about basic and advanced usage in your preferred
language. Beware that most (if not all) of this is very command-line-
centric. Get used to it, you'll love it.

> I managed to find
> http://newbiedoc.berlios.de/wiki/Installing_Samba_Linux/Windows_networking
> which was sort of helpful ... unfortunately the documentation doesn't
> explain what the various things are or how to get them running ... the GUI
> desktop appears after I log in and I used the Action -> Run window to do the
> "install samba etc" command, which I assume worked as I didn't get any error
> messages ...

That's strange since I cannot imagine that this command could be
executed successfully. However, it is better to do these things on the
command line.

To give you a few more hints: first make sure that samba is already
installed. Use the command 'dpkg -l samba' (in a terminal, on the
command line). On my machine this gives:

$ dpkg -l samba
|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name             Version          Description
un  samba            <none>           (no description available)

'un' in the beginning of the last line means that I do not have samba
installed (whoops, didn't even know that). If it was installed, there
would be 'ii' in the same place. If you do not have samba installed, you
can do so by running 'aptitude install samba'. You can then go ahead and
configure it by editing /etc/samba/smb.conf /or/ by clicking on "Desktop
-> Administration -> File Sharing" (at least I think so).

> then once I figured out how to log in as "root" by changing the
> options ... as an aside why would the default be to NOT allow the "root"
> user to log in?

As someone else already pointed out, this is considered to be dangerous.
You should always use an account with limited permissions (to read,
write, install files etc.) so that human error or malice cannot hose
your complete system.

Linux (and Gnome, your desktop environment) make this quite easy. Either
you do root-things only in terminals where you use 'su' to become the
super user or you use the "administration" menu and let Gnome ask for
root's password.

> [SWAT in inetd.conf]

To be honest, I have no idea what this is and I have never used it.
Mounting remote shares from windows machines and vice versa doesn't need
it, I am quite sure about that. But maybe it makes it possible for
Windows machines to automatically detect your linux system.

> I can't find "Samba" under the "Application" button as a program to run or
> under the "Action" button as a known command to run?

Samba is a protocol and a daemon (a constantly running program without a
user interface besides it's configuration files). There are GUI programs
to configure it, but they are not part of samba and the don't do
anything you cannot do by directly editing your smb.conf.

> I'm assuming that this
> will present a tree of the file folders and files so I can specify which
> users or groups have access to specific folders? Is there no way to simply
> "share" a folder and it's sub-folders with or without a password to all
> users on the LAN regardless of their USER ID or do I have to create a User
> for everyone using the LAN?

This should be possible but I have never done that.

> The Newbie Doc mentioned above seems to indicate
> that I have to make sure that I have passwords on the Windows machines that
> are the same as those I need to create on the Debian machine. What happens
> if I'm not using passwords on the Windows machines? Do I need to create
> them? or can I just share the folder without passwords?

You can, but having the same passwords on the client and the server
makes it easy for users to use your samba shares without entering a
password while still using one. When Windows accesses a samba share and
needs credentials (username/password), it doesn't immediately bother to
ask the user but first tries the local credentials. When they work, the
user doesn't even notice that authentication has happened.

> Any other suggestions for finding documentation for Newbies or any
> recommendations for books that I might try to find at the library would be
> appreciated.

<http://debian.org/doc> should be your first starting point. Another one
might be <http://wiki.debian.org/>.

I am not scared of death but terrified of people in Tommy Hilfiger
[Agree]   [Disagree]

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