Sharing Filesystems

In the final section of this chapter, we consider sharing local filesystems with other systems, including Windows systems. It covers the most common Unix filesystem sharing facility, NFS, and the Samba facility, which makes Unix filesystems available to Windows systems.

More information about NFS is available in NFS and NIS by Hal Stern, Mike Eisler and Ricardo Labiaga (O’Reilly & Associates). More information about Samba is available in the books Teach Yourself Samba in 24 Hours by Gerald Carter with Richard Sharpe (SAMS) and Using Samba by Robert Eckstein, David Collier-Brown, and Peter Kelly (O’Reilly & Associates).


The Network File System (NFS) enables filesystems physically residing on one computer system to be used by other computers in the network, appearing to users on the remote host as just another local disk.[35] NFS is universally available on Unix systems.

The following configuration files are used by NFS:

/etc/fstab ( /etc/vfstab under Solaris)

Remote filesystems are entered into the filesystem configuration file, using only a slightly varied syntax from regular entries.


This file controls which filesystems on the local system can be mounted by remote hosts and under what conditions and restrictions. On Solaris systems, this file is not used, but the file /etc/dfs/dfstab performs an analogous function.

Table 10-10 lists the daemons used by NFS and the files that start them in the various Unix versions.

Table 10-10. NFS daemonsa



FreeBSD ...

Get Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.