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Networking with Ubuntu 8.04 and Windows Part 1

Installing the Samba Package for Ubuntu

  • June 23, 2008
  • By Eric Geier

Can't seem to find the shares of Ubuntu machines from My Network Places or Network in Windows? You'll soon find out it's not a hide-and-seek game you'll win unless you start playing with features that exist on the computer, rather than chasing those you imagine are installed and setup.

Though Ubuntu can see the shared files and printers of Windows machines out-of-the-box, Windows can't see Ubuntu shares by default. However, don't give up yet and purchase another XP or Vista license; you can have Ubuntu 8.04 and Windows talking in no time.

Computers must have compatible resource sharing protocols installed in order to communicate with each other. Think of two people trying to talk to each other in different languages; nothing will be communicated until they speak a language they both understand. The same principal applies with the communication on a computer network.

By default, Ubuntu doesn't come with a protocol installed that gives it resource sharing capability. Therefore the first step is to install a protocol that will enable you to share files and printers. You have two main protocols you could use with Ubuntu: NFS (Network File System) developed by Sun Microsystems for Linux/Unix, and SMB (Server Message Block) primary used in Windows.

Windows uses SMB by default, thus installing the SMB protocol on your Ubuntu machine will get the conversation started by opening up two-way communication between the Microsoft operating system and Linux distribution. In the open-source World, the Samba package can give your Linux computer the SMB capability. The following steps show you exactly how to install the Samba package in Ubuntu:

  1. Click System | Administration | Synaptic Package Manager.
  2. On the prompt, enter your password and click OK.
  3. On the Synaptic Package Manager window, click the Search button, type samba into the Search field, and click the Search button.
  4. Wait a moment for the search to complete and the results to appear.
  5. Scroll down and right-click on the samba entry, and choose Mark for Installation as you can see in Figure 1.

If you can't find samba, refer to the next set of steps and then come back here.

  1. Click the Apply button on the Synaptic Package Manager toolbar, and then review changes on the Summary dialog box and click Apply.
  2. On the Changes Applied dialog box, click Close.
  3. Now you can close the Synaptic Package Manager.

If you don't see the samba package you may have disabled Ubuntu from searching the Main repository, or archive, of Ubuntu's officially supported software. If this is the case, you can follow these steps to enable the Main repository so you'll have access to the samba package:

  1. Click Settings | Repositories from the Synaptic Package Manager window.
  2. Select the Canonical-Supported Open Source Software (Main) checkbox and click the Close button.
  3. If prompted with the Repositories Changed dialog box, click the Close button.
  4. On Synaptic Package Manager toolbar, click the Reload button and proceed with the previous set of steps.

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