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Linux for Windows Users:

Using LinNeighborhood to Create a Network Neighborhood for Linux

Mike Angelo -- 25 October 2002 (C) -- Page 3

If you are using Mandrake 9.0 or have added your Linux-based computer(s) to a workgroup, while you were doing all of the above the Windows boxes on your LAN were not unaware of your Linux computer antics with LinNeighborhood. Take a look at the Network Neighborhood/Entire Network folder on your MS Windows machines.

You should find your Linux workgroup(s) plus your Windows workgroup(s) listed in the Entire Network folder of the MS Windows Network Neighborhood. If you double-click on the Linux workgroup in which your Linux-based computer is a member, you should see it listed. In Figure 5, the Md workgroup is the Linux-based computer workgroup and the Wo workgroup is the Windows-based computers workgroup.

Figure 5. Windows Network Neighborhood. Here the Enitre Network folder is expanded showing a Linux computers workgroup (Md) and a Windows computers workgroup (Wo).

However, before you can access the shares on your Linux-based computer from your Windows-based computer, you must setup a user account and a Samba account for your Windows username/logon on your Linux machine. Please see the Accounts on Remote Computers section on Page 2 for that procedure.

Wrapping It Up

Note: One reason LinNeighborhood is suggested in this article is because it is easy to install and use on Mandrake 9.0. And it is fairly easy to install and to use with SuSE 8.1. That makes LinNeighborhood for the Mandrake and SuSE Linux operating systems a good choice for Linux beginners, computer newbies, and people migrating from MS Windows to Linux.

You likely could get LinNeighborhood to work OK with Red Hat 8.0 if you are willing to dig into the LinNeighborhood Release Notes, do a bunch of configuring, and so forth. Therefore, we do not recommend LinNeighborhood with Red Hat Linux 8.0 for Linux beginners, computer newbies, and people migrating from MS Windows to Linux.

Incidentally, so far we find Mandrake 9.0 a better choice for desktop Linux use especially for Linux beginners, computer newbies, and people migrating from MS Windows to Linux. If you are a Linux beginner, computer newbie, or a person migrating from MS Windows to Linux, you might want to give Mandrake 9.0 and LinNeighborhood a try.

Today, we have looked at two somewhat independent but related aspects of accessing resources on remote networked computers from a Linux-based computer. One aspect is the Linux software used for enabling access to shared resources on remote networked computers. The other is creating and using a file management metaphor for working with shared resources on remote networked computers.

With Linux, there are lots of choices when it comes to working with files, printers, and other such resources on remote, networked computers. Some are better choices than others. Moreover, what is a better choice for one Linux user might not be a better choice for another Linux user. Today's discussion and tutorial is aimed toward attempting to provide a better choice for Linux beginners, computer newbies, and people migrating from MS Windows to Linux.

Likely, graphical-interface software for enabling access to remote, network computers from a Linux-based computer is a better choice for Linux beginners, computer newbies, and people migrating from MS Windows to Linux. Of the several such graphical interfaces for enabling access to remote, network computers from a Linux-based computer, we picked LinNeighborhood. Another article by another writer might pick a different piece of software for enabling access to remote network computers. And we plan to cover other networking-tool software in later articles.

In order to make it easier for people migrating from MS Windows to Linux, we used a Network Neighborhood metaphor similar to that found with the Microsoft operating systems. You can use the Linux Network Neighborhood paradigm for accessing shared resources on remote networked computers even if you decide to use software other than LinNeighborhood for enabling access to remote, networked computers from your Linux-based computer.

For us, LinNeighborhood was slightly easier to install and to use with Mandrake 9.0 than it was with SuSE 8.1. We gave up trying to use it with Red Hat 8.0.

For additional information about LinNeighborhood and how to use it, please see the LinNeighborhood Release Notes (Links in Resources section, below.)

Linux software such as LinNeighborhood makes a valuable contribution to making Linux Networking as easy as Microsoft Windows Networking. Nevertheless, working with remote shared resources is easier with MS Windows than it is with Linux, at this time.

One thing the Linux distributions providers could do to help make Linux Networking as easy as Windows networking is to configure Samba or other networking software automatically during the Linux distribution installation and to pre-mount all the shared, remote resources in a network folder. Then when a Linux user wants to access shared resources on networked computers, all he/she would have to do is to open a network folder, such as our Linux Network Neighborhood and voila', it would be just like opening the MS Windows Network Neighborhood.

Note: Mandrake's U.S. based consultant Todd Lyons,, was very helpful with the legwork for this article. However, any possible errors are ours, not his.

Interestingly, Caldera did such a thing in its OpenLinux 3.1 (June 2001) distribution. Unfortunately, since then Caldera has pretty much abdicated its role as a Linux operating system developer and morphed into a UNIX company, SCO. At one time, Caldera was a leader in desktop Linux development. It looks as though the leaders in desktop Linux development now are Mandrake and SuSE however, that's another story.

Stay tuned.




Resources

Related Articles

The #Linux, #Mandrake, and #RedHat channels on the EFNet IRC network have some people that really know their networking stuff. If you need some Linux-networking help, those EFNet IRC channels are very good resources.

These IRC channels are not affiliated with MandrakeSoft or Red Hat Software. It's mostly Linux users helping other Linux users. You also will find #Caldera, #KDE, #SuSE, #Windows, and lots more channels on EFNet too.


Mandrake 9.0 is LSB Certified

Mandrake Linux 9.0 Released for Downloading


Red Hat Linux 8.0 Is LSB Certified

Red Hat Linux 8.0 Distribution Released


SuSE 8.1 LSB Certified

SuSE Linux 8.1 Release Today

SuSE Linux Free for US High Schools


Software Discussed in Article


LinNeighborhood Web site

LinNeighborhood Release Notes

Using LinNeighborhood (Browsing) Section of Release Notes

LinNeighborhood Download Area


Samba Documentation

The Samba Web Pages


Mandrake LinNeighborhood-0.6.5-1mdk.i586.rpm

SuSE LinNeighborhood-0.6.4-85.i586.rpm

Richard Torkar's LinNeighborhood Red Hat RPMs


Books

Samba Unleashed, Steve Litt, Sams, ISBN:0672318628 ($45)



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