We also want a configuration GUI, so next we'll install
SWAT, which will allow us to configure Samba with a web browser. Type:
sudo apt-get install swat
This will install the package. Unfortunately, it does not by
default allow you to edit any settings over the network, so we need two more
sudo chmod g+w /etc/samba/smb. conf
sudo chgrp adm /etc/samba/smb. conf
The first command alters the permissions on the samba config
file so that group users can change it. The second associates the 'adm' (admin)
group with the same file.
The default user that you created when you installed Ubuntu
server will then be able to log into SWAT and edit things.
SWAT listens on TCP port 901, so open a web browser and
Obviously, you need to substitute the IP address of your
A pop-up box will ask you for your username and password,
and then the SWAT interface should open at the home screen, which has links to
all of the documentation.
Before we go any further, I should point out some of the
common pitfalls with Windows/Samba network file sharing.
Workgroup, Domain and NetBIOS computer names are always
upper case, entering them as lower case does not generate an error, but it will
probably not work. Spaces, hyphens or other punctuation in names are not a good
idea either, although underscores are okay the name is also limited to 15
The CUPS printer management interface
To set up the Samba server, first click on the 'Wizard'
button at the top, then select 'edit parameter values'. In the screen that
opens next, set the workgroup name and the server's NetBIOS name. Windows PCs
use different workgroup names. Business editions usually use Workgroup, while
home editions use MS-home. Samba defaults to Workgroup. On a Windows PC, right-
clicking on the 'Computer' icon and selecting 'Properties' then the 'Computer
Name' tab will show you the workgroup name.
My workgroup is Home-lan, and the server is called UBUSERV.
In the 'security' drop-down, select 'share', then click 'Commit changes'.
Windows manages network file sharing using a browse list,
which keeps track of all the resources available on the various connected PCs.
By default, this list is only updated every 1 5 minutes, so changes are not
always immediately available. It can be anything from one to 1 5 minutes before
configuration changes take effect, so be patient. Changes to the Domain,
Workgroup or NetBIOS name of the computer will need a reboot, which can be done
using this command:
sudo shutdown -r now
The SWAT wizard screen
Browsing a Samba share on a Linux PC
There are several other ways to share files, all supported
on Windows and OS X.
This is the simplest. It can be used to access files
remotely, but it's not limited to the command line. If you're using Ubuntu,
open the file browser and click on the 'file' menu. Select 'Connect to
server'. In the pop-up box that opens, select 'SSH' from the drop-down menu,
enter the IP address of the server and your username and password. You can
then manipulate files and folders as if you were on your local desktop (note:
this will only allow you to change files in the home directory of the user
that you're logged in as, but it can be used as a simple method of getting
files onto the server). On a Windows machine, you can do exactly the same
using a program called WinSCP.
Network File system, a simple file-sharing system native
to Unix OSs, but now available for Windows, because Windows 7 Pro has an NFS
mount utility. Windows 7 Home editions, XP and Vista need a third-party
This can be set up quite easily, by installing an FTP
server and using an FTP client to access it. Useful for moving things around
with a minimum of fuss.
This is basically using a web server as a file-sharing
There are also other ways of running graphical tools on a
headless server, as we'll see later in the series.