I hate Microsoft

So, I’m trying to find a nice, easy, seamless way to access data on my home Linux fileserver from XP. The goal is to have drag-and-drop access to files using the Windows GUI, as opposed to using sftp, which I’ve been doing pretty much forever and am finally getting tired of. But of course, with Windows, nothing is ever easy. My first thought was to use NFS, as I’m already using that to provide connectivity for my Mac, and Microsoft kindly provides a free toolkit (“Services for Unix”) which includes an NFS client. Nope.. our Windows PC runs XP Home Edition (which really should be called “Crippled Edition”) and SFU doesn’t work with XP Home. Of course, I didn’t find this out until I had downloaded the entire 200+ meg SFU distro, extracted it, and attempted to run the installer, which happily crapped out. Thanks guys.

With SFU ruled out, I fell back on SMB. I already run Samba on the Linux box, so I can just map my home directory to a drive letter and do it that way. That’s not quite as nice as NFS because I have to enter a username and password when I map the drive (although I might be able to work around that). But, there’s a hitch with that too — the XP box already has a couple anonymous shares mapped from the same Linux server, and for some inane reason, XP won’t let me map shares from the same server under multiple usernames. But, I outsmarted it by connecting to the server using an alternate DNS name, and that seems to work fine.

So in spite of Microsoft’s best efforts, I now have an XP box that’s actually somewhat useful on a heterogeneous network. Party on…

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