So to summarize my understanding, there are two potential places for reliance:
1) we can rely on smb.conf (and have transparently configurable settings with error messages to support non-google based troubleshooting).
2) We can rely on Avahi service in linux, Bonjour in OSX (taken care of by default I take it) and iTunes (or ideally, someday a stand alone service unbranded service) for windows.
Both options seem practical, but I'd like to note that with the Avahi option, the two most salient drawbacks are that
i. An extra step is required (install an Apple product) for each windows PC to network with linux machines, and
ii. Having to type the *.local suffex 'symbolizes' that the Avahi protocal is a second class solution to something that doesn't require a suffix at all.
If the Avahi protocal is "the protocal of the future" (as it seems to be) then drawback 'i' should be ignored and drawback 'ii' should be mitigated.
Since we are talking about what Linux could do to make Samba a works-out-of-the-box experience:
One of the great ironies of Samba is that we can combine an OSX inspired networking protocol ( bonjour / avahi ) with a reverse-engineered Windows utility ( Samba ) to produce instant host recognition in an all Linux network. See item [3b] in the following link: Avahi Networking
No more netbios names, no more workgroups, no more "name resolve order", no more "Failed to retrieve share list from server" error. At least not in an all Linux environment.
I just put back the smb.conf files on two laptops I have handy here and rebooted them. I attempted a smb://hostname.local
and it works great. I wonder if there'd be interest in teaching Nemo to convert smb://hostname
to lookup both smb://hostname
as well as smb://hostname.local
and autocorrect if needed, the way web browsers used to add the '.com' at the end of what ever you typed (before someone pointed out that searching was the basis of the web and should be accomidated more readily by the browser). My initial reaction to this protocol is the look of (and need to type) hostname.local. But it otherwise seems to be a great system.
For windows-linux samba communication though, I have iTunes on a desktop here, and bonjure is installed and running, but I can't seem to get hostname.local to work on either the windows or the linux Mint end. There must be another step required in order to get the windows machines to work with the .local suffix. Also, aren't windows PCs automatically Bcast`ing by default? If those signals are getting out there, why isn't my Linux Mint system pick them up unless it's own system is set to Bcast netbios names? Are resolve order and broadcasting mode linked in some kind of unnessiary (and harmful, I think) connascence? I'm thinking, if the netbois is being sloppily broadcast by a windows PC, couldn't Samba (or Nemo if needed) pick up on that data and use it? It's a little unclear to me why pinging my local hostnames resolves IP addresses way out there in the internet, but I've never encountered a usecase for contacting a remote machine without either supplying a full.domain.com type string or using the machines IP address.
I'm downloading a fresh iTunes installer to attempt testing on another PC here just in case I did something funky with my other windows PC that's interfering with things (networks are so touchy at times, especially with multiple VM networking solutions with random network configurations in place in the background).