Bug #209520 in nautilus Ubuntu: “SMB error: Unable to mount location”

April 23, 2008 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

Bug #209520 in nautilus Ubuntu: “SMB error: Unable to mount location”

I’m posting this just as a rant, and an “I told you so!”…

Pretty much ever since the Beta’s for Ubuntu “Hardy Heron” came out- people (including me) have been opening bugs and complaining about the broken SMB support in this new release. You cannot browse SMB networks requiring authentication anymore in Nautilus (think of it as the Linux (Gnome) version of Windows Explorer), including Windows Active Directory networks.

For at least several versions of Ubuntu prior to Hardy- you could browse Windows and Linux SMB networks with ease using Nautilus. It worked just like you would expect Network Neighborhood to work in Windows, or Finder on a Mac.

Hardy Heron uses GVFS, which is a virtual file system that is supposed to incorporate things like SMB, FTP, SCP, etc. seemlessly with the local file system. While great in concept- it isn’t complete yet and clearly isn’t ready for mainstream use. I don’t know why Ubuntu decided to use it for this “LTS” milestone release.

The simple problem is this- gvfs doesn’t prompt for credentials when you access an SMB resource that requires authentication. It also repeatedly tries to open the resource, without providing any credentials, using the client/workstation’s current user name. Since that name likely matches the username on the SMB server (or AD server)- depending the user policies- the account will get locked-out/suspended for repeatedly failing to authenticate.

The end result is this makes Nautilus worthless on anything but a wide-open SMB network (not requiring any login credentials at-all). Users in corporate Windows environments are pretty-much screwed. You can work around it by manually mounting a share (via GUI or command-line), but you actually have to specify the share name. You can’t browse or just mount a server, so if you don’t remember a share name- you actually have to use a Windows client or go to the server to find out first.

It’s rediculous- and won’t be fixed before tomorrow (Thursday, April 24th) when Hardy Heron is released. I suspect this will be a big black eye for Ubuntu and Linux as a whole.

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Entry filed under: Linux.

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