Plug and Play fun with Linux

The adventures of a Linux novice continue. Yesterday I asked how to convert my NTFS disk to be Linux compatible. The short answer being there is no way. So, yesterday, I ordered an extra hard-drive of the same size. Today it arrived and I've been having "fun" installing it in my new Linux server.

The plan is to add a Linux-formatted drive to the current Linux server. Once it's in place I will move all the files from the current NTFS drive in the Windows server over to it, via the network. I then have a copy of all the files on a disk that I can place in whichever of the servers I end up making the file-sharing server. Did you think it would be easier than this? So did I!

Anyway, here's what you see in Red Hat's Hardware Browser after plugging the drive in (analogous to yesterday's image of the Windows Disk Management console):

Hardware Browser with extra unformatted drive

This is the point where I was lost. In Windows I am accustomed to such niceties as being able to right-click the new drive and formatting it from there. Not so with Linux, where you still have to do things from the command line as the superuser. After Googling a few combinations of the words install, additional, drive, hard and Linux I came across this great article, that covered everything I needed to know, on Linux Planet. Ten or so minutes later and I had this setup:

Hardware Browser with extra formatted drive

The confusing thing for us Windows users is the lack of drive letters in Unix OSs. The new drive I added is not now known as E:\ or F:\ but as the directory /mnt/hdb1.

My question now is how I go about sharing the files. Do/should I use Samba or NFS? Also, before I copy the files over, what group/user ownerships should I apply to them all?


  1. For Linux newbies the best and easiest way to 'configure' a server, is installing webmin right after installing linux.

    Among other things, this browser based tool allows you to configure samba. If you had installed it yesterday, you could even have used it to configer the additional drive :)


    • avatar
    • nf0
    • Thu 28 Aug 2003 15:31

    Agree with V webmin is great , even for no newbies :)

    I would go with samba if your just conecting from the Windows machines. NFS if you connecting *nix boxes.

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Thu 28 Aug 2003 15:49

    Thanks guys, will give it a go.

    df0 - I've since worked out that NFS is only for *nic machines. Silly me ;o) One thing I'm still not sure of with Samba and sharing all my files is who to make the user:group owners. Any suggestions?

    • avatar
    • Henk
    • Thu 28 Aug 2003 16:18

    "This is the point where I was lost. In Windows I am accustomed to such niceties as being able to right-click the new drive and formatting it from there. Not so with Linux,..."

    Jake, you're talking like Red Hat is Linux. That's not so. I'm using SuSE 8.2 myself and it provides all the graphical tools you need to format partitions etc. I'm sorry you have to learn the hard way ;-)


    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Thu 28 Aug 2003 17:47

    Good point Henk. Red Hat of course is just one "distro" of Linux and does not represent the whole.

    Anyhow, it may be the hard way but sometimes that's the best way to really learn. I'll get there one day ;o)

    • avatar
    • nf0
    • Thu 28 Aug 2003 21:36

    "One thing I'm still not sure of with Samba and sharing all my files is who to make the user:group owners. Any suggestions? "

    This depends on how many users you have, just you? Or a group? If security is not an issue, for example internal protected network, you could use nobody, but I would recomend against that unless your absolutly secure.

    User and group management is pretty easy with the tools provided or with the webmin interface.

  2. Didn't redhat come with a (GUI) disk partitioning program called diskdruid (or something like that)? I'm surprised to hear that this hardware browser appears to look like a step backwards.

    But maybe I should just shut up and leave the field to those who don't have to guess, but know ...

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Fri 29 Aug 2003 03:37

    nf0 - It's just me on the network for the time being. Although I want to give my girlfriend and her daughter restricted access one day.

    Also, I would like to feel I had gotten it right from start. This is as much a learning exercise as anything. Nothing like learnnig bad practice and thinking it's the right thing to do....

    Thanks for all your help!

    • avatar
    • Jim G
    • Fri 29 Aug 2003 08:10

    Before you start moving files around get Samba configured and running properly first. If using webmin then you set up your users through there - in a simple setup each user gets their own data area and the permissions on that area will be that they alone can read/write to that area. Normally in a business setup you would want a "shared" data area also and the read/write permissions on that will be group based. Read up on samba.conf.

    Much will depend on whether your Lnux box is going to be a primary domain controller or you are happy with simple workgroup sharing. Former is better from a security point of view but latter is easy to implement.

    Once you have got samba working as you want then you can move the files via windows which will put the correct permissions on them. If the NTFS disk is in the same physical location this is going to be a 2 stage process i.e. move to PC then move to Samba. Perhaps consider removing the HD and temporarily putting it in a windows box as a slave - or did you install Linux on that disk as a dual boot.

  3. FWIW, you might want to add inherit permissions = yes to your smb.conf.

    It sure made life a lot easier for my Mac OS X and Windows home network.


    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Thu 9 Jan 2003 02:51

    Thanks David. It looks like finding my perfect setup is going to be a case of digging out all this "hidden" setttings...

    • avatar
    • mamun
    • Mon 27 Feb 2006 10:34 PM

    how to configure linux mail derver and dns server

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