smb: more than broken?

Robey Pointer (
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 21:58:40 -0800

I've waited 24 hours before posting this, so that my temper would go
down. :)

I thought the smbfs support in 2.0 was rather annoying, with its
requirement that you use a separate 'mount' to mount smb filesystems --
a program called 'smbmount' which was difficult to find
(understatement). I assumed this was just a limitation of the smbfs
implementation being so new, and that it would be rolled into the next
release of Linux 'mount'.

Noticing that there has been a lot of work on smbfs in 2.1, I was
particularly eager to try it out, to see what the improvements are.

I am disappointed, to say the least.

The directions in Documentation/filesystems/smbfs.txt are just one long
downer. No longer is it possible to do anything with smbfs without
having samba. I tried downloading the binary RPM of samba, to no
avail. Finally I figured out what had to be done (cut to many many
hours later...).

It requires you to download the *source* to samba, and apply a patch to
it. It won't work then, though. Now you have to go get a new version
of smbmount, because the old one no longer works. This new version of
smbmount is distributed by source only, stored in a directory ominously
called "dontuse". Are you scared yet?

It gets better. Both utilities (smbmount or smbclient) require building
from scratch (no binaries), and both require *heavy* modification to
build at all. They seem to make bizarre assumptions about a correlation
between /usr/include and /usr/include/linux (that's deadly in the age of
glibc). I got mine to build only after much heartache, and with many

My mount command now looks like:
echo "mount /disk5" | smbclient //kangaroo/disk5
and there's no way to specify a password. I have to be at the console
whenever it boots, so I can type this password in.

I'll spare you the output of 'df' or /proc/mounts after a successful
mount. Suffice to say that the information is minimal at best, wrong at

I appreciate that many people are putting a lot of effort into the "new"
smbfs, but if this is all we have to show for it after the 2.1 code
freeze, we need help. It appears that the samba people have no wish for
this to be included with their work ("dontuse" etc) so maybe we should
consider separating this from samba entirely.

If worst comes to worst, maybe we should even consider just backtracking
to the 2.0 smbfs, if this one proves unmanagable? Right now it looks
very bleak indeed...

In an attempt to be constructive, here's a list of what looks like needs

* Roll 'smbmount' into 'mount'. If 'smbclient' is really necessary, let
'mount' start it up.

* Either get the samba people to include a new, working 'smbclient' with
samba, or drop it and maintain our own.

If I can help with any of this, let me know how. I'd start an ftp site
to hold the corrected smbclient & smbmount, but I think that stuff
should be fixed at the source (samba) or rolled into the existing
'mount' command (NFS uses 'mount', why can't we?).


Robey Pointer       | "If animals aren't for eating, why are  |  they made of meat?"