From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

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From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby dragon-dragon_dragon on Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:31 pm

Hey, I just finished like an hours worth of vidcasts for a tutorial I've been writing as I go along learning Linux Mint. Tell me what you think. I'm thinking right now, the written work is as complete as I'm ever going to make it --I've just had too much workload piling up while I've been ensconsing myself in linux.

http://pastebin.com/XS1UNHS9


Here's the vids I made for a few of the portions of it.


01) Linux Mint Tutorial-01 Keybinding, nautilus…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3OyLsNW-8k

02) Web Browsing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74XBIiippLo

03) Web Searching, jDownloader
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-k19HbpsHI

04) Ping a Windows Computer, Startup Files
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6jPM8cXvE4

05) Gnome Terminal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktuioy7m_Wg

06) Docky, a windows 7/ OSX style task bar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3thkUFs-7U0
Last edited by dragon-dragon_dragon on Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby exploder on Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:14 pm

Wow! Those are some very nice videos! You really got into some very interesting things that I have not seen before. Great work!
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby altair4 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:27 pm

Um ... Just some things to consider:

** Pinging by hostname and accessing a smb/samba share by netbios name are two different things. Winbind is used to to allow Windows users to appear as UNIX/Linux users and is more appropriate for networks where Linux machines find themselves within an Active Directory structure.

Case in point: I can't ping by hostname in my home lan because I have no lan side dns server set up but that does not prevent me from accessing a smb/samba share by netbios name because it's a different process. Worst case, rearranging "name resolve order" in smb.conf by putting bast ( "broadcast" in Windows ) first usually fixes the situation for most users that have issues with this. Ironically the default set up has "wins" before "bcast" which is what prevents those users from accessing netbios names in the first place.

I do apologize but I'm a veteran of the old winbind wars when it first started coming up in the SuSE forums years ago and I just have this irrational emotional response every time I see it. I recommended it myself once so I'm not without sin in this regard.

** Have nothing against SSH as I use it myself but it's not in the same category as Samba. The ssh client has full read access ( at a minimum ) to the entire host machine. Samba limits the client to specific resources. You can make ssh limit the things the client can see but that's not a trivial thing to do.
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby dragon-dragon_dragon on Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:52 pm

Thanks for the comments guys, I really appreciate it.

Thanks altair4 for that correction about winbind. I have only done one fresh install on Linux Mint so far and I wasn't sure if smb:// had similar trouble to pinging windows machines. I don't know why I didn't think to just uninstall winbind and undo my edit to test it out, but yes, you're absolutely right, the two things are based on seperate 'stacks' or what have you. I'll annotate that in the video immediately.

As far as setting a linux machine up to ping a windows computer (to check if it's on or to get it's IP) would you say that the windbind solution is an acceptible one? I'm noticing that pinging windows computers by their netbios name takes significantly longer than pinging their IP directly.
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby altair4 on Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:13 pm

I personally don't think that winbind but more importantly the change to nsswitch is ever advisable in a home network. If you have a marginally slow Internet connection ( internet not lan ) as I do it will slow things down when browsing - sometimes to a crawl.

Not sure why you are pinging to find out if these machines are available. If you are using the samba client, firewalls aren't getting in the way, host names aren't longer than 15 characters, everyone is in the same subnet, and the "name resolve order" in smb.conf has bcast first then Nautilus should just see them.

If you are using SSH between Linux machines and you can't as I can't connect by hostname ( ssh://hostname ) you can connect by an mDNS qualified host name because avahi is installed: ssh://hostname.local

If you are really into the SSH thing you can even have avahi announce it's presence to the lan so you can see it when you select "browse network" in Nautilus instead of typing in ssh://xxxxx.

Come to think of it if you install Bonjour on your windows boxes you can access them using samba's client the same way: smb://hostname.local
And you can even ping them that way: ping hostname.local
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby dragon-dragon_dragon on Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:42 am

This is all good information to have, I hadn't realized Bonjour was extending was adding functionality to my Local Area Network like that.

Regarding pinging by netbios name, I did some googling and I see that my configurations may have slowed people's firefox browsing down at least in the past. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1496488

I'll be sure to make a note of this in the video. But on my system, I don't think I'm being slowed down when web surfing. Is there a chance the bug has been fixed? I do notice slow linux-windows pings, but all other pings are moving at normal rates. Do you know the reason for the network performance hit? I might be missing something obvious there.

More about my needs to ping: As a person responsible for administrating windows machines, I sometimes need to debug problems with win boxes, my first step is often check to see if they're switched on, and next, try using its IP address instead of its netbios name. I also wind up connecting to windows machines via grdesktop, and in order for that app to resolve netbios names, I need winbind installed. It would work fine if I plug in the IP address manually, but again I'm left with the "how do you discover a windows computer's IP address by it's hostname" problem which leads right back to winbind. But I gotta say, so far I'm not exactly sure why winbind is on your urgently-avoid list (I haven't noticed latency issues). Maybe you have some keywords that will elucidate more of winbind's flaws to me? From a network laymen's perspective, the idea of installing a corporate competitor's software (Bonjour) on all my windows systems at work seems a little more intrusive than using winbind.
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby altair4 on Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:13 am

Your last post tells me that the issue here isn't one of technical correctness but one of intended audience.

In a home lan environment the following HowTo or other's just like it will fix this issue for Samba 98.68 % of the time - I measured it :wink: . The only time it hasn't is when the OP didn't tell anyone that he had multiple subnets in his network :
Samba Browsing Problems Checklist: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=88146&start=0

One of the items is changing the default mechanism that Samba uses to map addresses to netbios names which is this:
Code: Select all
name resolve order = lmhosts wins host bcast

In Linux "lmhosts" doesn't exist by default and "host" isn't set up for Samba by default so they are ignored. "wins" refers to a WINS server that also doesn't exist on a home lan by default so it should be ignored. That leaves "bcast" ( This corresponds to a Windows' "Netbios Node Type = B-Node" or "broadcast") as the only mechanism that works by default and it's listed after "wins".

When a user tries to browse the network for samba shares and gets the infamous "Failed to retrieve share list from server " error it's usually because of "wins". Doing an smbtree command will usually show that it resolved a netbios name to the address 0.0.0.0 which means samba eventually gave up or it shows an ip address that corresponds to the users ISP's DNS server meaning that samba has actually left the lan and is trying to find a WINS server on the internet itself. Rearranging the name resolve order by putting bcast first or at least before wins usually resolves the issue. At that point if I really need to find out which ip address corresponds to what netbios name I can use nbtscan like this:
Code: Select all
nbtscan 192.168.0.1/24

But in a corporate environment I suspect you'd want to do just the opposite. If you have 200 seats you don't want to have them all broadcasting their presence on the lan because it would slow everything down. In a home network if one does not want to go the "bcast" route one could go through contortions like setting up a lan side dns server - using dnsmasq perhaps(?) - or one can simply use mDNS ( avahi - zerconf - bonjour ) which provides a lan side DNS server mechanism. As you have pointed out however it is not something that one would do in a corporate network since it also is broadcasting their presence and although far less demanding that nmbd on the Samba side is still a hit to network performance on a large scale.

I do not believe that winbind and the nsswitch change has any place in a home network. The wan browsing delay issue as well as other issues that can arise are not bugs but a direct result of winbind / nsswitch doing exactly what it's intended to do when used outside of a corporate environment. Your inability to map ip addresses to host names appears to be a result of your corporate network not having a lan side dns server or perhaps one that is not configured correctly. Don't ask me how to do any of that because quite honestly that is above my pay grade.

Side Note: There are 2 Ubuntu bug reports - both of which are confirmed - and both of which I cannot find at the moment that addresses 2 problems with the default set up in Ubuntu / Mint:

** One is basically a request for the Ubuntu installer to prevent a user from creating a host name longer than 15 characters.
** The other is to automatically change the default name resolution order to have bcast first.

I predict that when / if these 2 bugs are are fixed the winbind issue - at least for the home user - will never come up.
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Re: From Windows to Linux Mint vid casts

Postby dragon-dragon_dragon on Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:52 pm

nbtscan 192.168.0.1/24 is perfect! It's way better than pinging to do name resolution. I don't have a whole lot of time/will power left on this project, but I'll indicate on the vid people to see your post. Thanks for clearing this issue up here :D
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