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Thread: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    19

    Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network

    Okay, this is the absolute beginner section, right? So I am a complete and total beginner and noob and all that. I'm that guy that makes you say "we all had to start somewhere".

    OBJECTIVE: Use an old crappy netbook as a file server.

    REASON: I have a Macbook, my wife has a Windows Laptop and we can't swap hard drives for a common source of files. I have an old netbook lying around and decided to use it to both reach my (above) objective, but also to learn a little about ubuntu. I didn't want to spend any money to reach this objective if possible.

    STATS: My Macbook runs OSX 10.9.1. My wife's laptop runs Windows XP. The net book now runs Ubuntu 13.04. I have a wireless router that spreads interwebs all over my house and I have my mac, my wife's lappy, the netbook and a couple of phones and internet enabled devices connected to it.

    PROGRESS: I have bumbled my way through installing ubuntu. Took ages and a couple of goes, but it seems to be working. I have haven't really done anything with it though as I still don't know what I'm doing.

    That mostly covers where I'm up to.

    From here, I need some help because it's just not coming together for me. I also hope that this thread will help others in my position. I would love it if everyone treated me as some thawed out caveman that needs to be stepped through every single step.

    So.... I'm not sure what the next step is. I want to be able to log onto the mac and see the hard drive hanging off the unbuntu machine so I can save stuff to it. I want the same to happen for the windows PC.

    Where do I go from here?

    Keith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Michigan, US
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    50
    Distro
    Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Truth is Keith - there is a lot of learning, trial and error to get to where you want to go.The software you need to learn is Samba. It's a package on Ubuntu.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Squidbilly-Land
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    15,250
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Did you install desktop ubuntu or server ubuntu?
    Which release?

    Desktop would imply point-n-click and the instructions will be pages and pages with images.
    Server means lots of copy/paste and if any issues come up, reading the errors and taking appropriate corrective action.

    Here's some reading material while you figure those questions out:
    * https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FilePermissions
    * https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/server...ileserver.html
    Samba is probably what you need due to Windows clients, though there are better file sharing methods for OSX and Linux.

    You;ll need to know about networking enough to make each machine find the other machines on the network. That usually means a static IP for the server and modifying /etc/hosts files on each of the clients ... windows puts that file deep under WINDOWS somewhere. Editing this file requires administrative rights on every OS these days.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    19

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Okay, thanks, Steve.

    I've gone to the search icon, typed in Samba, found the file, downloaded it and it's installing now. Hopefully.

    I appreciate the help - I'll see how far I get and post my progress.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    19

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Thanks, TheFu.

    I tried to install server ubuntu and found it too confusing, so I went with the desktop ubuntu. The release I have says 13.04, but I have done all the instructions to update to 13.10, so it might be on that.

    Where I'm really missing out is the big picture stuff. I don't really know what's missing.

    For example, if you gave me instructions to make a cup of tea, you might say "boil the kettle, add tea bag to cup, fill with boiling water, drink". Then I might have a question such as "where is the button to turn on the kettle".

    I hope you understand what I mean.

    Anyway, I'm looking into Samba and see if I can work out how to use that.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Michigan, US
    Beans
    50
    Distro
    Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Try this.
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/ubuntu/install-samba-server-on-ubuntu/
    or
    http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/man/...n/install.html

    Just so you know when I first installed Samba it took me a VERY long time to get it to work. Linux is a wonderful thing, but it has a steep learning curve.
    Last edited by devine.steve; February 4th, 2014 at 03:48 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Squidbilly-Land
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    15,250
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Quote Originally Posted by keith3 View Post
    Okay, thanks, Steve.

    I've gone to the search icon, typed in Samba, found the file, downloaded it and it's installing now. Hopefully.

    I appreciate the help - I'll see how far I get and post my progress.
    Please, please, please use the package manager or PPA (extends the package manager) and do not directly download files to be installed manually. http://blog.jdpfu.com/2009/10/06/eas...es-and-patches explains, though some of the program names to be used have changed, the ideas are still accurate.

    apt-get --> aptitude

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Guys, thanks so much for the responses. I have worked through a tutorial and changed config files and so on.

    The problem I have now is that I don't know how to start it. If that's even what I need to do.....

    How do I start Samba? I believe there's supposed to be a graphic UI, but I can't even find the file to run.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Kubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    install server version as it will use a lot less resources than desktop version. and everythign will work a lot faster especially on netbook. have a look here for a nice how to with pics.: http://askubuntu.com/questions/34096...4-step-by-step

    once you have server up and running install webmin to it so you can access it via web interface (another option is to install zentyal). i would suggest to keep server connected by wire instead of wireless if possible.

    ok once you have web interface you need FTP server, then you can access server using various FTP programmes. i think it should work wiht windows explorer, but there are better ones such as Filezilla, WinSCP. i dont' know whqat is used in Mac, but probably its fileexplorer shoudl work as well.

    another option is to install Zentyal initially. Zentyal is a GUI platform based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS ment for home servers and small offices. it's easy to use and they have a free community version. Webmin is a GUI for server. post back when you reach this stage.

    here is zentyal review so you can see how it looks and learn a bit about it: http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?is...140113#zentyal
    here are some webmin screenshots as well as demo of this interface: http://www.webmin.com/demo.html

    other easy web GUI server platforms include:
    Openmediavault (based on Debian stable)
    ClearOS (based on CentOS which is based on Redhat -> one of the most succesfull enteprise systems)

    if you don't use a GUI then you will control the server via command line from another maschine using SSH (or in your case you can do it from laptop as well since oyu have the screen there). to use SSH in windows it's best to use putty terminal (free and opensource). Mac might allready have this funciton built in. maybe windows does as well...
    Easy to understand Ubuntu manual with lots of pics: http://ubuntu-manual.org/
    Do i need antivirus/firewall in linux?
    User friendly disk backup (suitable for older PCs): Redobackup Less friendly disk backup (works on new PC): Clonezilla

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    19

    Re: Using an ubuntu machine as a file server on a wireless network (NOOB)

    Mastablasta.

    Thanks for the tips.

    I didn't want to just do the server version of ubuntu because I wanted to find out a bit about the OS and learn something new. It won't get that much use, so should be fine running from desktop.

    I downloaded Zentyal, but that overrides the OS doesn't it? Just turns the net book into a server?

    I've put a lot of work into trying to get Samba to work so I'd at least like to try it.

    Any ideas why I can't run it? Or if I should?
    Last edited by keith3; February 4th, 2014 at 11:31 AM.

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