I will start with noting that I am a semi-linux-noob, but a 20+ year IT professional. I have used Linux as a server, and dabbled in the desktop, but have always been turned off by how difficult it is to maintain as a productivity desktop. My goal for 2013 is to switch to Linux for a year. My initial experience may make me re-think that.

I have installed Ubuntu 12.10 x64 in a windows environment with a primary Windows Server as a file and media host.

After several failed installation attempts I was finally able to get Ubuntu to install. However, it took multiple tries, several USB burns, and a couple of system reformats for it to install completely. I don't know what made it finally work, but installation took over 3 hours.

Once installed, and using everything stock, I opened the Nautilus File browser and was able to navigate through my network, authenticate to my Windows server, and see my files. Some files I could open, others I could not. Media would not all play, and I could not open or save Open Office files to the server. (Come on folks, this is 2012, data should not be locked to a platform. This is basic functionality)

Issue: I can browse to Windows Server and see my office and media files, but can not use them without coping them down, modifying them locally, and saving them back up.

Issue: I can not play media stored on a Windows Share

Install through Ubuntu Software Center: cifs-utils
Install through Ubuntu Software Center: smbnetfs
I don't know if I need this because cifs proceeds Samba, but this was part of what I did.

At this point I still could not access my data correctly so I began to track it down to an improper mount. I thought I would have map through the dreaded terminal and nested configuration.

I began tracking down fstab file
located at /etc/fstab
used by the mount command on load to mount devices

To edit the fstab file: Open a terminal window and type
sudo gedit /etc/fstab
this will launch the fstab file in a gedit editor

At the bottom of the file add your cifs connection string:
//WinServerIP192.168.123.000/WinServerShareName /home/LinuxHomeDir/MountFolderName cifs uid=LinuxUserName,user=WinServiceAccountName,password=WinServiceAccountPassword 0	0
I had multiple issues with this.
  1. 1. Although I can browse to my server through Nautilus by machine name cifs can not find the server by name
    • 1. Luckily my server has a static IP and I could use that.
  2. 2. I had to create a mount point to mount to.
    • 1. I created a mount point in my home directory through the terminal window, but that did not work because of the access granted
    • 2. I ended up creating the mount point through Nautilus and granting the following access: 755
      • 1. To see the permissions of a folder use: stat -c %a [filename]
      • 2. To change permission use: chmod
      • 3. I want to mount to several shared so I created them in my home folder
        • 1. Create Folder: WinServer Name permissions: 755
        • 1. create sub-folders: Share Name, permissions: 755
  3. 3. My windows account user name and password has a space in them
    • 1. I attempted to use quotes in the string: “User Name”, but this did not work
    • 2. I attempted to use %20 in the string: User%20Name, but this did not work
    • 3. I ended up creating a new system account and password on the windows server with out any spaces, and granting it the appropriate access

After editing the fstab file you can force a remount by using: sudo mount -a

I tested several times through a full reboot

This did mount my Windows shares to my Ubuntu 12.10 desktop, and I was able to edit and save directly to the file shares.

However, I could not play all my MP3. Installing Ubuntu Restricted Extras from the Ubuntu Software Center fixed that.

What a pain for basic user desktop functionality!

Useful Links:
Cifs "mount error 13 = Permission denied"

Cifs "mount error 13 = Permission denied" CIFS SUCKS

Mounting a share with spaces in FreeBSD fstab

Samba Shares, Spaces and fstab (With a bit of Octal thrown*in)

12.10 cifs shares not mounting after modifying /etc/fstab