March 22, 2019

Linux Networking: Exploring Samba - page 3

The Samba Essentials

  • July 10, 2000
  • By William Wong

The smbfs daemon is used to map remote disk shares on Samba- or Windows-based servers to a local directory. This operates in the same fashion as mapping a local device like a CD-ROM to a local directory. Typically, the /mnt directory is where mapped directories are placed although they can actually be setup anywhere in the Linux directory tree. A good convention to follow for smbfs mapped directories is to create a directory in the /mnt directory that matches the server name. Directories can then be created that match the share names so a shared disk named //wong1/public would map to /mnt/wong1/public.

Shares can be mounted, or mapped in Windows-speak, and unmounted at any time. There are two files that keep track of these operations: /etc/mtab and /etc/fstab. The mtab file contains a list of mounted devices and it is maintained by Linux. The fstab indicates how a device should be mounted. The following are examples of the files:


/dev/sda3 / ext2 rw 0 0
none      /proc proc rw 0 0
none      /dev/pts devpts rw,gid=5,mode=620 0 0
//wong1/u /mnt/wong1/u smbfs  0 0
//wong1/t /mnt/wong1/t smbfs  0 0
// /mnt/wong1/s smbfs  0 0


/dev/sda3      /             ext2     defaults  1 1
/dev/cdrom     /mnt/cdrom    iso9660  noauto,owner,ro 0 0
/dev/fd0       /mnt/floppy   ext2     noauto,owner 0 0
none           /proc         proc     defaults  0 0
none           /dev/pts      devpts   gid=5,mode=620  0 0
/dev/sda2      swap          swap     defaults  0 0
//wong1/u      /mnt/wong1/u  smb      username=admin,password=pass 0 0
//wong1/t      /mnt/wong1/t  smb      username=admin,password=pass 0 0
//  /mnt/wong1/s  smb  username=admin,password=pass 0 0

Normally the fstab file will be configured by the user. Each line contains six items. The first is the device description, the second is the directory where the device will be mounted, the third is the file system type. The fourth is the list of parameters given to the file system daemon. The last two are normally 0 for all but the main disk partition.

Note, in the prior examples, the server's domain name, wong1, and the server's IP address,, are used to refer to the same computer. Typically only one of these will be used.

One drawback of using fstab is that user names and passwords must be included. The alternative is to have users use the smbmount command or one of the browser programs. There are many browser programs. Two graphical ones are KWMount by Gazer Zoser for KDE and gnomba by Chris Rogers for Gnome.

The following is a sample of the smbmount program:

smbmount //wong1/u /mnt/wong1/u -o username=admin,password=pass

The arguments are very similar to the contents of the fstab file. The password can be omitted from the command line, in which case the program prompts for a password if needed. The smbmount program accepts a number of other parameters that the online help describes.

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