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Linux in a Windows World by Roderick W Smith

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Configuring GUI Workgroup Browsers

If you’re migrating desktop users from Windows to Linux, chances are your users will be familiar with the Windows Network Neighborhood or My Network Places network browsers. These browsers enable users to easily locate network resources in a friendly visual manner. The core Linux SMB/CIFS client tools, though, are purely textual, and hence decidedly unfriendly to users who aren’t comfortable with text-mode commands. Fortunately, some tools exist that provide GUI frontends to the text-based tools or that integrate SMB/CIFS functionality into primarily GUI tools. Installing and configuring such tools can help make former Windows users feel at home on a Linux desktop system.

A Rundown of GUI Network Browsers

Fitting with the Unix tradition of creating small programs that work together, many SMB/CIFS network browsers serve as frontends to the text-mode tools. Others use functions that are now provided in Samba libraries to handle much of the grunt work of SMB/CIFS interactions. These tools differ in their levels of sophistication and precise feature sets. Examples include:

Konqueror

This program is the file manager and web browser in the K Desktop Environment (KDE; http://www.kde.org) package. It supports accessing SMB/CIFS shares when the user enters an SMB/CIFS URI, such as ldap://MANDRAGORA/SHARED, in a window’s path specification. Konqueror doesn’t actually mount shares on the Linux filesystem.

Nautilus

The GNOME file manager, Nautilus, supports SMB/CIFS ...

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