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TIP for Snow Leopard issues with SMB: keywords, WINS, & case sensitive Samba

Monday, May 3, 2010

David Lippa sent some solutions for fixing Mac OS X problems with SMB (Samba) file sharing, with Linux and Windows servers. He recommends a keyword, keeping a single WINS server in a subnet, and configure a Samba server for case sensitivity. Lippa's report:

I have some fixes to some of the Snow Leopard problems with Samba.

1) Use the "hide files" keyword instead of "veto files." The Man page says that they won't show up in Explorer (speed things up) but if you know what you're looking for (that's you, Finder!) you can access them.

2) WINS server issues. There can only be one WINS server *per subnet*. I ran into this problem with Linux on a windows network. My workaround was easy, since my Linux box is my primary domain controller and runs nmbd. If NMBD is running on all of the machines, the reason for the hang is that they all try to talk to each other for naming (internally, I believe they are holding an "election" for who is to serve out the name). The larger the network, the worse this is. Windows gets around this problem by name broadcasting the way that nmblookup does. Finder's not as smart. There's another feature you can enable on each machine to help some who are still having this problem. There's an smb.conf option called "name resolve order" (I don't know how to set these on a Mac). The default order is "lmhosts hosts wins bcast". You can bypass the WINS server issue and change it to "lmhosts hosts bcast wins", but that will only help you if the machine you want is on the same subnet.

3) Linux and Windows do not configure Samba to be case sensitive by default. Mac OS X wants it. Badly. If you enable it, that might help some of the other issues people have been experiencing and may prevent more workarounds.

I've dealt with these problems for a lonnng time (1999) between Linux and Windows and am just starting to deal with it with Snow Leopard (my first Mac).

Another tidbit: Ubuntu 8.04 LTS added a recent update (same day as my prior email) that breaks AppleTalk on Snow Leopard. You need to get source files and recompile with SSL enabled to get it working.

Hope this may help some of the longtime Samba sufferers.

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