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Kris Springer's Tech Blog - My Linux Desktop
My Linux Desktop, and NAS Maps 3-4-18
Kris Springer

I recently abandoned Windows and adopted Linux as my desktop OS of choice (see previous post for details). I've used many different Linux desktops over the years and have never found one that could truly replace the ease of the Windows (7, not 10) human interface. A few years ago I really wanted Ubuntu to be the one I cold adopt, but the Unity GUI and the lack of drivers and software just wasn't up to my standards. So I waited a few years and recently I started testing out new flavors to see what the Linux community had come up with. And they've finally done it!

The Linux flavor I chose was Mint (which is basically Ubuntu under the hood) with the Cinnamon desktop GUI. I tried it out on my personal desktop for a while to make sure it was stable and I could install the apps I wanted, and also just to see how I liked the human interface of it. It's perfect. I love the options to theme it, it's speed, it's non-bloated-ness, and the fact that the interface is normal, not something I have to figure out from scratch because the developers thought it would be cool to design something non-intuitive. So I installed it on my company laptop (dual-boot) so if I need to return the machine for some reason back to the company I can just erase Linux and Windows is still on there. I have 3 HD external monitors hooked to my company laptop too, and the linux drivers I found worked just fine. I was actually surprised at how easy everything worked.

More than the GUI issues, the one thing that has always held me back from going all-in with Linux as my desktop was that all my files are stored on a network drive, not locally on each machine. Each Linux flavor I've used has had slightly different file browsers and I couldn't find one that worked smoothly with my network drive. It always took an unnecessary amount of effort to get the File Browser to connect, and then after a reboot the link would be lost and/or the credentials would get erased from the memory. There was no graphical 'map drive' options, which has always puzzled me because Linux is a great networking platform. After much searching and many frustrating attempts using various suggestions from message boards, I finally came across the answer, and haven't had a problem since. Linux has a file that network shares can be statically mapped and linked to the user's Home folder. It works for shares with user credentials, and also 'public' shares that don't require creds. The magic file is /etc/fstab

Here's the basic instructions. Assuming your NAS is sharing it's folders via SMB/Cifs, then adding one of the following lines to your /etc/fstab file should work for you. Change the IP and folder names to your own custom values. I've highlighted the values in blue that you need to customize.

#This line connects to a ‘public’ folder that doesn't require a user/pass. But you still need to enter ‘anonymous’ as the username and ‘none’ as the password, otherwise you’ll get a password prompt at bootup.
// /home/kris/NAS/Movies cifs vers=3.0,username=anonymous,password=none,noperm,dir_mode=0777,file_mode=0777,iocharset=utf8,_netdev,x-systemd.automount 0 0

#This line connects to a share that requires a user/pass.
// /home/kris/NAS/Business cifs vers=3.0,username=kris,password=krispass,noperm,dir_mode=0777,file_mode=0777,iocharset=utf8,_netdev,x-systemd.automount 0 0
You can add as many shares as you want. One line per share.

Reboot. Your new mapped drives should magically appear in your Home folder.

Here's the lines if you want to use NFS instead of SMB/Cifs. This is what works on my Western Digital NAS anyway. The path syntax for your NAS may be slightly different. Check your NAS settings for that. /home/kris/NAS/Movies nfs hard,intr,tcp,timeo=100,retrans=2,_netdev 0 0

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