Thursday 11 October 2012

Networking: With Lubuntu, Win7 and the Raspberry Pi

Setting up a home peer-to-peer network can be challenging, and for machines with a variety of operating systems, can be even more tricky.


The three examples given may also help with other version of Linux & Windows.


As Lubuntu is a light-weight member of the Ubuntu family, this Linux distribution does not include full network support (although I understand the next version will support networking through the new file manager, without the need to add more packages).

The following method will allow networking for Lubuntu versions 10.10 to 12.04.

I suggest you install the required packages via Synaptic as this keeps a history, and therefore is quite useful for unravelling any problems later on.

Install these packages:-
  • samba
  • system-config-samba
  • gvfs-bin
  • gvfs-backends
...accepting any dependencies (typically 11 packages in total).

For Lubuntu 11.xx: you also need to install: python-glade2

I suggest you re-boot now.

As an initial test, go to the file manager (pcmanfm) and enter:-

You should see the local print$ folder listed.

To access folder shares remotely:-
  • open file manager (pcmanfm)
  • enter the IP address or computer name of the machine you wish to access, for example:-
 smb:// or smb://print-server

To share a folder on your Lubuntu machine:-
Go to: Preferences > Samba (enter password when requested)

In the Samba Configuration screen:-
  • File > Add Share
  • use Browse... to select folder to be shared
  • Tick "Visible" and (if required) "Writable"
  • In "Access" select "Allow access to everyone"
You must also set the general Linux permissions:-
  • select the folder to share in file manager
  • right click on the folder and select Properties > Permissions
  • set the required permissions, e.g. Other: Read & Write (to allow anyone full access)

Create a "Network" bookmark
Don't forget that you can access your network with a user friendly bookmark like this:-
  • open the file manager (PCManFM)
  • access your network by typing "smb://" in the address bar (there should now be a folder displayed with the name of your workgroup)
  • Select from menu Bookmarks > Add to Bookmarks
  • In the "Add to Bookmarks" dialog, change "smb://" to something friendly like "Network"
  • Click OK, and your bookmark should appear in the list.

The Raspberry Pi (with Debian)

Even more basic than Lubuntu, the Raspberry Pi runs a variety of operating systems and is continually evolving.

These notes have been used on a number of Debian Wheezy builds, but be aware that things are changing fast!

I use the Lubuntu method, except some of the packages are/where not available.
If Synaptic is not available, nstall via terminal using "apt-get":-
  • samba
  • gvfs-bin
  • gvfs-backends
 sudo apt-get install samba

As these packages do not give you a Samba GUI, to add a folder share (e.g. for a folder called: "motion") you need to edit: /etc/samba/smb.conf and add this at the end:-
    path = /home/pi/motion
    writeable = yes
    guest ok = yes

You need to do this with root privileges,  so I suggest you locate the folder in the file manager (pcmanfm) then select Tools > Open Current Folder As Root
When you doble click /etc/samba/smb.conf it should open the editor with read/write access.

Now, also using the file manager, select the folder to share (e.g. motion) and set Properties > Permissions > Other: read & write

Windows 7

Getting a Windows 7 machine to share files & folders with other Windows machines is less of a problem than sharing with non-Windows computers. But this simple approach seems to work:-

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > View by Small Icons > Network and Sharing Centre > Change Advanced Sharing Settings
  2. Under "Home or Work" select Turn On Network Discovery
  3. Under "Public" select Turn On Network Discovery
(I'll let you worry about any security issues!)

Click on Network in Windows Explorer. All network computers should now be visible.

Open Windows Explorer, select a folder and create a Share.
Your Windows shared folder should be accessible from other network computers.


  1. The latest Lubuntu (12.10) does not required modification to connect to other computers, but will not be visible to other computers.
    To make your system visible and share folders/files, the easy way is to installed the following:-
    * samba
    * system-config-samba

    The following dependances will also be included:-
    * libfile-copy-recursive-perl
    * libuser1
    * python-central
    * python-glade2
    * python-libuser
    * samba-common
    * samba-common-bin
    * tdb-tools
    * update-inetd

    You can then go to System Tools > Samba and set folder shares.

  2. can someone plz explain me how to see shared files from windows 7 with lubuntu? i downloaded samba and samba config, open it expecting some instructions or help in the program, without luck... what do I do now? I have already some shared folders that I can see with other windows 7 machine.