Tag search

Automatically mounting and unmounting Samba/Windows shares with CIFS

by Sander Marechal

Last updated on 2007-12-03@23:55. At my work the employees are in the fortunate position that they are free to choose whatever OS they want to work with. At the moment the default is still Windows XP but you are free to wipe the drive and install whatever you feel—as long as you can do your job properly. And there is work underway to roll our own distribution for internal use. You're even free to bring in your Mac (but we won't supply you with one). The only thing that's banned (unofficially) so far is Windows Vista. Server-side we run a mixture of Linux and Windows, and the thend is to replace broken Windows machines by Linux machines if possible. In such a heterogeneous environment it makes sense to share our files through Samba. It's one of the few protocols that any OS can speak.

If you're running Windows Server 2003 then you can't use the smbfs driver that most Linux distributions ship by default. Sorry, no "Places » Connect to server" for you GNOME folk. You'll need to use the CIFS filesystem driver and you'll need to edit /etc/fstab. Adding the required fstab entries is actually quite easy as I will show below, but on Debian and it's derivative distributions you get a nasty error when you subsequently try to reboot or shutdown your machine, which hangs for about 30 seconds waiting for a timeout:

CIFS VFS: No Response for Cmd <number> mid <number>

It took me quite a bit of time to properly solve that one, but in the end it turned out to be quite simple. I will show you later in the article, but let's start mounting first.

Linux: making small businesses possible

by Sander Marechal

Here at Lone Wolves we do more than just blog and write open source software. We have a small company as well and we build websites for equally small businesses in the area. It's nothing big, not even full time, but it pays for this website and the servers we need to keep our projects running. It's Linux that made this possible. If we would have been stuck on the Windows platform there is no way we could have done what we do because it would simply have been too expensive.

I am sure the same is true for many start-ups. Hardware prices have been going down over the years but the cost of proprietary software has only risen. Start-ups need much more of an IT infrastructure to get going and the license costs are dragging them down. It is no coincidence that virtually all the successful start-ups of today are powered by open source software.

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history.

And that is just the least scary quote in Peter Gutmann's analysis of Vista DRM. In his analysis he paints the bleak picture of how Microsoft and Big Media are collaborating to cripple our computers by disabling output channels, crippling drivers, increasing hardware costs, decreasing system stability and ultimately revoking hardware.

At the end of all this, the question remains: Why is Microsoft going to this much trouble? [...] The only reason I can imagine why Microsoft would put its programmers, device vendors, third-party developers, and ultimately its customers, through this much pain is because once this copy protection is entrenched, Microsoft will completely own the distribution channel. [...] Not only will they be able to lock out any competitors, but because they will then represent the only available distribution channel they'll be able to dictate terms back to the content providers whose needs they are nominally serving in the same way that Apple has already dictated terms back to the music industry: Play by Apple's rules, or we won't carry your content. The result will be a technologically enforced monopoly that makes their current de-facto Windows monopoly seem like a velvet glove in comparison.

The worst thing about all of this is that there's no escape. Hardware manufacturers will have to drink the kool-aid in order to work with Vista: "There is no requirement to sign the [content-protection] license; but without a certificate, no premium content will be passed to the driver". [...] As a user, there is simply no escape. Whether you use Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 95, Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Solaris (on x86), or almost any other OS, Windows content protection will make your hardware more expensive, less reliable, more difficult to program for, more difficult to support, more vulnerable to hostile code, and with more compatibility problems.

The Windows Shutdown crapfest

I worked at Microsoft for about 7 years total, from 1994 to 1998, and from 2002 to 2006. The most frustrating year of those seven was the year I spent working on Windows Vista, which was called Longhorn at the time. I spent a full year working on a feature which should've been designed, implemented and tested in a week.

Each team of 8 was separated by 6 layers of management from the leads, giving us 43 total people with a voice in this feature. Twenty-four of them were connected sorta closely to the code, and of those twenty four there were exactly zero with final say in how the feature worked.

By the way "feature" is much too strong a word; a better description would be "menu". Really. By the time I left the team the total code that I'd written for this "feature" was a couple hundred lines, tops.

From: Moblog

One Small Business Gladly Gives Microsoft the Boot

You are reminded that Microsoft Windows, portable Microsoft devices or laptops running Microsoft Software within our network is forbidden as of 9/20/06. If you have not already received your Linux Live CD, email Ken or Tammy and they will get you one, along with any instructions you may need. These are yours to keep and at no cost. You are encouraged to use them at home as you see fit.

Everyone should be so lucky to recieve an e-mail like that from your CEO out of the blue on a monday morning. Read part two on how Ken Starks a.k.a Helios of lobby4linux fame is helping an anonymous company that ran afoul of the MS-BSA protection racket migrate a 9 city/455 desktop computer business network from Windows to Linux — Fedora Core in this case.

If you missed how this came to be, then you should read part one: No one ever got fired for using Microsoft — Yes they did.