Frustrations with home network

Questions about cabled networking
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shrydvd
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Frustrations with home network

Post by shrydvd »

I have frustrated myself beyond hope. I have probably tried 6-7 different distro's, windows 7, windows xp, freenas, etc. My problem is that I don't know a lot about any of them but think I know more than I really do . . .

I am listing all that I can think of here. I don't expect anyone to answer all of this, but I figure if I put the information out then maybe someone will offer some bit of advice that I can pool into a solution. Also, I honestly have no reason for posting to the Linux Mint forum except that is the distro I am trying at the moment and I am tired of switching.

What I would like to accomplish is this:
We home school and I want to put courses, video's library, etc in a single location that we can all access. I would also like to have a central location for documents, pictures and a media server (we were using Serviio which was pretty good).

Next, a lot of the textbooks are in pdf format. I would like for the kids to be able to open their book and annotate it (answer questions, highlight, etc.). Then, my wife or I could go behind them & see how they are doing and check work, etc.

Also, if they are stuck on something, I would like for my wife to be able to get on her laptop & connect to the child at their desk and help with a problem. (Before I get the "lazy wife" name calling, I'll explain. My wife has leukemia and is bed ridden often. Otherwise, they would all be at the kitchen table doing their work.)

I think I have probably hit the solution a couple of times but gave up before I finished. The problem is that I am trying to pull all these disparate ideas together into one unified solution.

I have tried windows 7 & XAMPP with egroupware, feng, etc. I have tried various linux distro's. I am thinking of trying VNC or LTSP (I think that was the acronym), but have questions about them.

1. With VNC or LTSP, can they simply have dual boot so they can boot into the server/terminal and later boot back to their regular OS? If we do use LTSP or VNC can I simply install Libre Office on the server and then they can use it from their computer?

The following is what I have to work with:
Intel Celeron 2.6Ghz
1.5GiB of Memory
40 G Hard drive
80 Gig hard drive
120 Gig hard drive
1.5 Tb USB hard drive and finally a couple USB thumb drives of various sizes.

Can anyone recommend a general direction? Thank you for reading my long winded problem, whether you have an idea or not.
osmosys
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by osmosys »

Google docs?
Set up a share for the big files?
Dropbox?
Zoho?

Just a few ideas...
fluffypants
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by fluffypants »

Setting up a central server with samba would solve 80% of what your looking for.

And I believe but i'm not 100% sure on this. You would either need a machine setup like an app server (sandboxed) or install openoffice on the initial desktops.
chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

Well, I'm in a very similar situation and I really hope that someone can help. I'm in deperate need to share files between my computers. I run a small business from home and I have a desktop and two laptops. All three are running LinuxMint 13. I have an ATT 2wire modem/router. My internet works great with all three computers, but I need to connect all three in some kind of wireless LAN. I tried to create an ad-hoc wireless between my laptops, but apparently not all wireless cards can accept ad-hoc connections. So how can I create an infrastructure network? Can I make it work with the 2wire router or do I need to buy a different router? The 2wire router is connected to the desktop computer (doesn't have a wireless card) with an ethernet cable and I connect my laptops to the router wirelessly. Unfortunately I'm not a networking expert, but I think that with some help I can figure it out. I would greatly appreciate some assistance with this.
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Fandangio
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by Fandangio »

As mentioned before Samba should be all you need to achieve the home network and file sharing. If you do not have a dedicated machine to act as a server I would use the one with the best network connection (preferable hard wired and not wifi) to store the data (files) and add the shares. If you do have a dedicated machine I'd recommend FreeNAS.

In Mint 13 KDE creating the shares is as simple as right clicking on the folder that you want to share in the file manager (Dolphin in this case) selecting properties, then allowing the file to be shared. In Mint Samba is preconfigured so there is no difficult setup required. It should be as easy in the Mint Main edition (Cinnamon or Mate).

If you use Mint 13 KDE then annotating pdf's is easy in Okular (the default pdf reader).

For a remote desktop client VNC will work but I prefer Google's Chrome Remote Desktop BETA. If you have Chrome (or Chromium) as your browser it's very easy to use.
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chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

I guess I can make my desktop computer the dedicated machine for this, but how do I do that? What steps do I need to take? Also, what are the implications of making a computer a dedicated unit? Would I be able to use it just the same or would it just need to work as a server? Once I set up the dedicated computer, how do I make the other computers connect to it? I have LinuxMint 13 MATE on all three machines.
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Fandangio
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by Fandangio »

Just to clarify, you do not have to make any machine a server if you do not wish. You could simply share folders from each computer (and they would be visible on all others).

As an example my main machine is connected to my router via ethernet, it also happens to have the most storage available of all my PC's. For that reason I use it to "host" all my files and I share the required folders to the other PC's on my network.

Maybe someone that uses Mate could verify this but in your file manager (nautilus?) you should be able to right click the folder you wish to share. The share dialogue will either be there or you may need to select properties then "Share with Samba", and then allow guests. It really is that easy. Equally you could share folders on every PC on your network, and therefore be able to see all folders from every machine.
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DrHu
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by DrHu »

I have TOT (Tit of the Tongue ) problem at the moment, but i would look into the servers that provide an admin interface and control of users for media or files or printing
--that is of course a common server, however there are some (bsd based), I just can't recall the terminology for now, that could be used..

OK, now I remember it NAS (Network Attached Storage),: freenas being the one that I was trying to recall.
http://www.freenas.org/
http://www.freenas.org/features
http://www.freenas.org/features/item/we ... ory_id=108
--the web interface is the part I think makes it easy for part-time admins (regular users tasked with admin duties..) users..

Freenas, a quick walkthrough in their documentation for the GUI interface..
http://doc.freenas.org/index.php/Quick_Start_Guide
chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

Fandangio - Your solution rocked my world. I was expecting something a lot more complicated, but now I can share my files just like you said. Works perfectly. Thanks a million!
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Fandangio
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by Fandangio »

Thank the Mint team, having Samba preconfigured is one of the great things about Linux Mint (though it is not difficult to set up manually).

If you do ever look to a centralised solution have a look at FreeNAS it is pretty awesome.
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chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

The Mint team did a wonderful job indeed. I have one more question: I have a printer connected to my desktop computer and I want to be able to print from my laptops as well. I checked the printer settings and it is marked as shared. On my laptop I went to the main menu > control center > printing and I found the network printer from the dialog. I found the driver and it seems like it would work, but when it is about to print, it asks me for a user and a password to authenticate. Needless to say, none of my current users or passwords worked. How do I set up the user and password to print from my laptop or how can I make it so that it doesn't require a password to print? Again, thank you for all your help.
chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

One more question: When I share a folder, how can make it share all the subfolders as well? It would be a pain to have to change the settings on every folder and subfolder. Thanks!
altair4
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by altair4 »

chamillo wrote:One more question: When I share a folder, how can make it share all the subfolders as well? It would be a pain to have to change the settings on every folder and subfolder. Thanks!
It does that by default. If it doesn't then something seems wrong with your setup or you have some strange permission settings somewhere. If you want someone to help you posting the output of the following commands would be helpful:

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testparm -s

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net usershare info --long
but when it is about to print, it asks me for a user and a password to authenticate.
The only problem with the question is we don't know what protocol you are using to connect to the printer from the client: Samba? IPP? MDNS?

If I guess and assume it's samba then edit the following file as root:

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gksu gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf
Find the following section and change guest ok from no to yes:
[printers]
comment = All Printers
browseable = no
path = /var/spool/samba
printable = yes
guest ok = yes
read only = yes
create mask = 0700
Then restart samba:

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sudo service smbd restart
Wait a few minutes for the network to settle down after a samba restart before trying to access anything.

SIDE NOTE: Since we are all now responding to someone that technically hijacked this topic and since the OP never responded can we assume that shrydvd has left the building?
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.
chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

Sharing the home folder did not share the subfolders. Most of the subfolders that I have I copied from back-ups. I wonder if somehow the permissions of the subfolders got messed up. I see that most of my folders have 'none' under permissions for 'group' and 'others. If that is my problem, how can I make a blanket command to change the permissions to all subfolders? In case that my problem is something related to samba, here is the output of:

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testparm -s
Load smb config files from /etc/samba/smb.conf
rlimit_max: increasing rlimit_max (1024) to minimum Windows limit (16384)
Processing section "[printers]"
Processing section "[print$]"
Processing section "[aabbcc]"
Loaded services file OK.
Server role: ROLE_STANDALONE
[global]
server string = %h server (Samba, Ubuntu)
map to guest = Bad User
obey pam restrictions = Yes
pam password change = Yes
passwd program = /usr/bin/passwd %u
passwd chat = *Enter\snew\s*\spassword:* %n\n *Retype\snew\s*\spassword:* %n\n *password\supdated\ssuccessfully* .
unix password sync = Yes
syslog = 0
log file = /var/log/samba/log.%m
max log size = 1000
dns proxy = No
usershare allow guests = Yes
panic action = /usr/share/samba/panic-action %d
idmap config * : backend = tdb

[printers]
comment = All Printers
path = /var/spool/samba
create mask = 0700
guest ok = Yes
printable = Yes
print ok = Yes
browseable = No

[print$]
comment = Printer Drivers
path = /var/lib/samba/printers

[aabbcc]
path = /home/aabbcc
read only = No
guest ok = Yes
When I run:

Code: Select all

net usershare info --long
I get nothing.
chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

Unfortunately I don't know how I'm trying to share the printer. I just went to 'control center > printing' from the main menu and I found the printer from the 'settings' dialog. I would guess that it is trying to connect through samba because in the settings, the device-URI is:

smb://WORKGROUP/USER/hp-Laserjet-3030

I changed the file /etc/samba/smb.conf and restarted samba with the command you provided, but even an hour later I was getting the same result. When I try to print it asks me for a user and password. Anything else I can try? I really appreciate all the help.
altair4
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by altair4 »

chamillo wrote:Sharing the home folder did not share the subfolders. Most of the subfolders that I have I copied from back-ups. I wonder if somehow the permissions of the subfolders got messed up. I see that most of my folders have 'none' under permissions for 'group' and 'others. If that is my problem, how can I make a blanket command to change the permissions to all subfolders?
You may not have to change permissions. I'm assuming that you can access all these backup files locally. If that is correct then make your remote users appear to be you. Edit smb.conf again and change the share definition by adding one line:
[aabbcc]
path = /home/aabbcc
read only = No
guest ok = Yes
force user = aabbcc
That's assuming aabbcc is your actual user name. If not change it to the correct name.

Then restart smbd again.

When samba allows the guest user access, "force user" will convert their identity to you - at least for that share.
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altair4
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by altair4 »

chamillo wrote:Unfortunately I don't know how I'm trying to share the printer. I just went to 'control center > printing' from the main menu and I found the printer from the 'settings' dialog. I would guess that it is trying to connect through samba because in the settings, the device-URI is:

smb://WORKGROUP/USER/hp-Laserjet-3030

I changed the file /etc/samba/smb.conf and restarted samba with the command you provided, but even an hour later I was getting the same result. When I try to print it asks me for a user and password. Anything else I can try? I really appreciate all the help.
I'll give you 2 ways out of this:

[1] The 3.6 branch of Samba has a bug that messes up printer sharing. If you are afflicted with this bug I have a fix published here which should be done to the machine that has the printer attached to it:
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 65#p618065

[2] Since all your machines are running Linux you don't have to use Samba you can access the CUPS printer server directly:

Run the following command from the client machine:

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system-config-printer
Then Add > Enter URI

In the "Enter URI" box specify the location of the printer in one of the following possible formats:
ipp://ip-address:631/printers/printer-name
ipp://server-name:631/printers/printer-name
ipp://server-name.local:631/printers/printer-name
Where:
ip-address is the ip address of the machine with the printer attached to it.
server-name is it's host name or machine name
printer-name is the name of the printer

ip-address is the fastest but you may not have a static ip address. server-name should also work but sometimes Linux has problems resolving host names. server-name.local is the mdns qualified host name and it requires that avahi-daemon be running which should be standard on all linux os's today.
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chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

Adding the line 'force user' solved my problem with sharing subfolders. Thank you for the tip.

For my printing issues, on the client computer I entered the URI as indicated by the third option 'local:631', but when I try to print, it says that the printer is not connected. I checked the server name and the printer name and they are correct. I don't feel competent enough to try the Samba fix you posted, but I still wonder if there is something I can add to the smb.conf file to either not ask for authentication or provide a user and a password so that I can authenticate from the client computer. At least with Samba I can tell that my laptops can find and connect to the printer.
altair4
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by altair4 »

I don't feel competent enough to try the Samba fix you posted, but I still wonder if there is something I can add to the smb.conf file to either not ask for authentication or provide a user and a password so that I can authenticate from the client computer.
There is only one place in smb.conf that controls this and you've already done it:
[printers]
comment = All Printers
browseable = no
path = /var/spool/samba
printable = yes
guest ok = yes
read only = yes
create mask = 0700
But if your server is afflicted with the bug I referenced later it won't make any difference.

As far as connecting to the CUPS server I would suggest turning off everyone's firewall to see if it's getting in the way. If you are using the default setup:

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sudo ufw disable
And since you are using the server.local format you need to make sure that both systems have the following service running:

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sudo service avahi-daemon restart
OR,
Connect by ip address:

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ipp://ip-address:631/printers/printer-name
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.
chamillo
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Re: Frustrations with home network

Post by chamillo »

Unfortunately I was not able to make it work. When I try to print, the print job keeps telling me that the printer "may not be connected." Maybe I should have mentioned this before, but I have Apache servers running on all 3 computers. I'm a web designer and that is how I test my php sites locally. Maybe there is some conflict somewhere. If that is part of the problem, I apologize for not mentioning this earlier. I really didn't think about that until just now. Just in case I will also mention that on the Apache config, I have it set up so that it will only listen to the local host.
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