Chapter 6. Linux as an SMB/CIFS Client

Linux often functions as a tool for running Samba as a server on a network that’s otherwise dominated by Windows systems. Sometimes, though, you might need to reverse this role and have Linux function as the client in an SMB/CIFS environment. Perhaps a few Linux desktop systems must access Windows servers; maybe a Linux system that works as a server for other protocols must do so. Whatever the details, the Samba package includes client tools, and the Linux kernel also supports accessing SMB/CIFS file shares. Thus, Linux can function in the client role, using Windows, Samba, or other SMB/CIFS servers on other computers.

This chapter covers several specific client roles for Linux on an SMB/CIFS network: using NetBIOS name resolution, accessing file and printer shares, and using GUI network browsers for Linux.

Using NetBIOS Name Resolution

As described in Chapter 3 and Chapter 5, NetBIOS provides a computer-naming system that’s independent of DNS, which is used by most TCP/IP protocols. In fact, Windows enables its clients to use these NetBIOS names in place of DNS names for most protocols, at least for local computers. For this reason, some LANs rely heavily on these names, and if you want to refer to computers by name rather than by IP address from Linux, you may need to know how to configure Linux utilities to use these addresses. For the most part, this task can be handled with a setting or two in smb.conf. If your LAN doesn’t use DNS hostnames ...

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