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documentation.suse.com / SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Documentation / GNOME User Guide / Connectivity, Files and Resources / Accessing Network Resources
Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP2

5 Accessing Network Resources

From your desktop, you can access files and directories or certain services on remote hosts or make your own files and directories available to other users in your network. SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server offers the following ways of accessing and creating network shared resources.

Network Browsing

Your file manager, GNOME Files, lets you browse your network for shared resources and services. Learn more about this in Section 5.3, “Accessing Network Shares”.

Sharing Directories in Mixed Environments

Using GNOME Files, configure your files and directories to share with other members of your network. Make your data readable or writable for users from any Windows or Linux workstation. Learn more about this in Section 5.4, “Sharing Directories”.

Managing Windows Files

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server can be configured to integrate into an existing Windows network. Your Linux machine then behaves like a Windows client. It takes all account information from the Active Directory domain controller, just as the Windows clients do. Learn more about this in Section 5.5, “Managing Windows Files”.

Configuring and Accessing a Windows Network Printer

You can configure a Windows network printer through the GNOME control center. Learn how to do this in Section 5.6, “Configuring and Accessing a Windows Network Printer”.

5.1 Connecting to a Network

You can connect to a network with wired and wireless connections. To view your network connection, check the network icon in the right part of the main panel. If you click the icon, you can see more details in the menu. Click the connection name to see more details and access the settings.

To learn more about connecting to a network, see Chapter 26, Using NetworkManager.

5.2 General Notes on File Sharing and Network Browsing

Important: Contact Your Administrator Before Setup

Whether and to what extent you can use file sharing and network browsing and in your network highly depends on the network structure and on the configuration of your machine.

Before setting up either of them, contact your system administrator. Check whether your network structure supports a feature and whether your company's security policies permit it.

Network browsing, be it SMB browsing for Windows shares or SLP browsing for remote services, relies heavily on the machine's ability to send broadcast messages to all clients in the network. These messages and the clients' replies to them enable your machine to detect any available shares or services.

For broadcasts to work effectively, your machine must be part of the same subnet as all other machines it is querying. If network browsing does not work on your machine or the detected shares and services do not meet your expectations, contact your system administrator to ensure that you are connected to the appropriate subnet.

To allow network browsing, your machine needs to keep several network ports open to send and receive network messages that provide details on the network and the availability of shares and services. The standard SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is configured for tight security and has a firewall that protects your machine against the Internet.

To adjust the firewall configuration, you either need to ask your system administrator to put your interface into the internal zone or to disable the firewall entirely (depending on your company's security policy). If you try to browse a network while a restrictive firewall is running on your machine, GNOME Files warns you that your security restrictions are not allowing it to query the network.

5.3 Accessing Network Shares

Networking workstations can be set up to share directories. Typically, files and directories are marked to allow users remote access. These are called network shares. If your system is configured to access network shares, you can use your file manager to access these shares and browse them just as easily as if they were located on your local machine. Your level of access to the shared directories (whether read-only or write access, as well) is dependent on the permissions granted to you by the owner of the shares.

To access network shares, open GNOME Files and click Other Locations in the sidebar. GNOME Files displays the servers and networks that you can access. Double-click a server or network to access its shares. You might be required to authenticate to the server by providing a user name and password. Common network shares are SFTP-accessible resources (SSH File Transfer Protocol) or Windows shares.

Network File Browser
Figure 5.1: Network File Browser
Procedure 5.1: Adding a Network Place
  1. Open GNOME Files and click Other Locations in the sidebar. It shows a Connect to Server text box.

  2. Enter the server address.

  3. Click Connect.

5.4 Sharing Directories

Sharing and exchanging documents is a must-have in corporate environments. GNOME Files offers you file sharing, which makes your files and directories available to both Linux and Windows users.

5.4.1 Enabling Sharing on the Computer

Before you can share a directory, you must enable sharing on your computer. You can enable this either with YaST or by adding an entry to the Samba configuration file. Enabling sharing with YaST

  1. Start YaST from the main menu and enter the root password.

  2. In the category Network Services, click Windows Domain Membership.

  3. Click Allow Users to Share Their Directories, then click OK.

Sharing directories is now enabled on your computer. Enabling sharing by editing the Samba config file

  1. Start a shell.

  2. Open the configuration file /etc/samba/smb.conf as root.

    Use the following command:

    sudo vi /etc/samba/smb.conf
  3. To enable editing, press the I key.

  4. In the section [global], add the following entry:

    usershare max shares = 100
  5. Save and exit the editor.

Sharing directories is now enabled on your computer.

5.4.2 Enabling sharing on the computer via the config file

Before you can share a directory, you must enable sharing on your computer. To enable sharing:

  1. Start YaST from the main menu.

  2. Enter the root password.

  3. In the category Network Services, click Windows Domain Membership.

  4. Click Allow Users to Share Their Directories, then click OK.

5.4.3 Enabling Sharing for a Directory

To configure file sharing for a directory:

  1. Open GNOME Files.

  2. Right-click a directory, select Properties and click Share.

    Sharing options
  3. Select Share this folder.

  4. If you want other people to be able to write to the directory, select Allow others to create and delete files in this folder. To allow access for people without a user account check Guest Access.

  5. Click Create Share.

  6. If the directory does not already have the permissions that are required for sharing, a dialog appears. Click Add the permissions automatically.

The directory icon changes to indicate that the directory is now shared.

Important: Samba Domain Browsing and Firewalls

Samba domain browsing only works if your system's firewall is configured accordingly. Either disable the firewall entirely or assign the browsing interface to the internal firewall zone. Ask your system administrator how to proceed.

5.5 Managing Windows Files

With your SUSE Linux Enterprise Server machine being an Active Directory client, you can browse, view and manipulate data located on Windows servers. The following examples are the most prominent ones:

Browsing Windows Files with GNOME Files

Use GNOME Files's network browsing features to browse your Windows data.

Viewing Windows Data with GNOME Files

Use GNOME Files to display the contents of your Windows user directory as you would for displaying a Linux directory. Create new files and directories on the Windows server.

Manipulating Windows Data with GNOME Applications

Many GNOME applications allow you to open files on the Windows server, manipulate them and save them back to the Windows server.

Single Sign-On

GNOME applications, including GNOME Files, support Single Sign-On. This means that you do not need to re-authenticate when you access other Windows resources. These can be Web servers, proxy servers or groupware servers like Microsoft Exchange*. Authentication against all these is handled silently in the background using the user name and password you provided when you logged in.

To access your Windows data using GNOME Files, proceed as follows:

  1. Open GNOME Files and click Other Locations in the Places pane.

  2. Double-click Windows Network.

  3. Double-click the icon of the workgroup containing the computer you want to access.

  4. Click the computer’s icon (and authenticate if prompted to do so) and navigate to the shared directory on that computer.

To create directories in your Windows user directory using GNOME Files, proceed as you would when creating a Linux directory.

5.6 Configuring and Accessing a Windows Network Printer

Being part of a corporate network and authenticating against a Windows Active Directory server, you can access corporate resources such as printers. GNOME allows you to configure printing from your Linux client to a Windows network printer.

To configure a Windows network printer for use through your Linux workstation, proceed as follows:

  1. Make sure the CUPS printing service is available and automatically started at boot time:

    > sudo systemctl enable cups.service
    > sudo systemctl start cups.service
  2. Start the printer configuration by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Settings and then Devices › Printers.

  3. Click Unlock in the upper right corner and enter the root password.

  4. Click Add a Printer.

  5. Select a Windows printer connected via Samba.

To print to the Windows network printer configured above, select it from the list of available printers.