How does Ubuntu do it?

I have an old PC that serves as a file and print server (see what I did there?). It holds a 120 GB disk drive, divided in an NTFS partion, and two others for root and swap.

It used to run Ubuntu 9.04. I had tried to install Arch and a lightweight DE (my boy sometimes likes to use the PC for games), but I couldn’t figure out the Samba settings back then, so I just slapped Ubuntu on it, mounted the ntfs partition, rightclick, share, be advised that a change to smb.conf is needed (in the [global] section), adjusting smb.conf, done. It worked very well, but the OS was aging a bit, and of course a full GNOME desktop was overkill for something that essentially just needed Samba, a browser and some games.

Because of my recent infatuation with Fedora, I tried using that, with XFCE. The experience was frustrating, to say the least. Installing Samba is no problem. Neither is adding a share via the Samba config tool. Nor opening the firewall to allow Samba traffic. However, although the share could be seen on the client PCs (one Fedora, one Windows 7), it could not be mounted. It failed in Nautilus, using the fstab, mounting it manually…nothing worked. The error was something along the lines of “share doesn’t exist”. Trying to edit smb.conf manually didn’t work. Using Ubuntu’s smb.conf, which I had backed up, didn’t work.

Sharing the printer worked beautifully though.

Trying Fedora GNOME didn’t do it either. Then I tried Ubuntu server, and installed ubuntu-desktop on top of it.

Which is an insane thing to do if you just need a file server.

I’m again stuck with a full-blown Ubuntu desktop, full of goodies I don’t need and running much slower than I could make it run. But here’s the maddening part, it works. Right-click folder, share, adjusting smb.conf, done. Even worse, I can’t find any reference to my share in smb.conf ! If I knew where the right config is saved, I could simply copy/paste it to a leaner system, but now I can’t.

Curse you Ubuntu! Curse you for making my life so easy and so difficult at the same time!


PS: Obviously, any help would be appreciated…


16 Responses to How does Ubuntu do it?

  1. Guilherme de Sousa says:

    Hi San!

    I’ve had similar problems with smb.conf too!
    In my desktop I always have the movies folder shared, so I can connect my netbook to the lcd, and through xbmc watch the movies on the home network.

    It used to work VERY well untill one day it didnt! LOL. its funny because I didnt made any change, but still it stopped working.. I guess it was an update of samba, that changed something in the syntax of the smb.conf, so mine wasnt right anymore.
    i google it and google it and it was kind of hard to find a simple but working solution.. but i did!:D
    I’ll leave the link to my smb.conf so you can adapt it your own way..

    smb.conf :

    tell me if it worked;)


  2. Dangger says:

    Why don’t you do the following:

    Or maybe instead of gnome try lxde (xfce is not as ligth).

    Hell, you could also try linux mint lxde

  3. celettu says:


    Thanks, I’ll check it out 🙂


    Because then I wouldn’t be able to do rightclick > share 🙂 As I said, I can’t even find evidence that Ubuntu touched smb.conf, so it must store the config for my share somewhere else, but I have no idea where.

  4. Milan says:

    Why ntfs? On Linux box? You can use whatever you want, no matter if you access it via windows or not… Anyway instead trung bunch of distros you could just little read about samba…

  5. celettu says:


    Very helpful.

  6. Chris Smart says:

    Ubuntu offers the share option in Nautilus via the nautilus-share project (

    Fedora does not include this package, maybe because it’s not an official part of GNOME.

    A similar thing is possible with Thunar, Xfce’s file manager, via the package “thunar-shares-plugin” (it’s based on nautilus-share anyway). This means you could do a similar thing with a much more light-weight file manager without needing GNOME and still have your right click option you’re after. This is included in Fedora, although I haven’t used it myself. Looks like you still need to do some manual configuration (

    I know you’ve already played with it on Fedora, but you could install the Windows File Server group and use the graphical interface for configuring Samba.

    yum groupinstall “Windows File Server”

    Then enable and start the server, unblock it from the firewall (as you say), then use the graphical tool System -> Administration -> Samba.

    Here you can configure the server, add shares, users, etc.

    Samba works on a few levels. For example, it has to respect the underlying file system permission structure, so even if you give it all the permissions in the world, it won’t work if the underlying directory doesn’t offer read permissions.

    Also, there are a few different authentication models. It can be quite complicated, but likewise, a simple set up should be pretty easy 😉 You probably want “share”, rather than “user” authentication model else you’ll need to create unix users and passwords.

    Not as “easy” as Ubuntu, but it’s probably a more correct way to do it.


  7. celettu says:



  8. Arup says:

    Ubuntu is the windows of linux desktop world, I know that don’t makes an FOSS nazi happy but heck, it works and I have no hesitation recommending it to hundreds of Windows users when they look for a change. I wouldn’t do that with other distros even though they are quite good. As for speed, latest Lucid boots as fast as so called optimized distros and guess what, in phoronix benchmarks, it doesn’t do too bad compared to so called optimized distros either in key areas like compile time, extract, encode and other quintessential benchmarks.

  9. […] Why I’m using Ubuntu now Well, the main reason is because trying out different Linux distributions is so much fun, isn’t it? There was nothing really wrong with Fedora, in fact it did a lot of things right, but I wanted to configure my file server with a lightweight environment and then leave it alone. I’ve spent too much time on that thing already. […]

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