CIFS VFS and X-logins

Steven French sfrench at
Wed Aug 20 19:09:00 GMT 2003

>testing to see if the CIFS VFS is a viable solution for Home Directories 
on Linux clients

I have not tested homedirs with the cifs vfs and GDM but I suspect the 
problem is that Samba support for mknod (creating pseudo-files for sockets 
etc.) is disabled by default in the server code.  mknod is almost 
certainly necessary for adequate homedir support.   There needs to be a 
fallback mechanism for creating pseudo-files in the cifs vfs (for Windows 
servers if for no other reason) and some reasonable ideas have recently 
been suggested (similar issue shows up for symlinks for which I can read 
Windows reparse points for a similar purpose).   I will investigate more - 
there is e.g. an obvious approach to doing emulation of mknod via storing 
info in xattrs or the equivalent (over the network this could be done via 
EAs or streams).    More testing is needed here but it shouldn't be that 
hard to get working.   I may end up testing kde first since that is what I 
have running on more test systems but the same issues are probably in 

> however it seems that mount -t cifs wants/needs an entry in smbpasswd 
database to work?
Yes.  Unless you are running winbind on your server, I would expect that 
an smbpasswd entry is necessary for each authenticated user (unless you 
are authenticated as guest).   It may be that configuring on the server 
for pass through authentication would avoid the needs for this if the 
domain controller supports ntlm (which seems likely), but note that the 
cifs vfs (intentionally) has disabled the support for the older, weak, lm 
authentication for security reasons (it can be reenabled trivially by 
changing code but I don't want to encourage anyone to use the lm password 
hash mechanism).  In some cases in the past I noticed that pass through 
authentication used the lm password hash (which I have disabled for 
security reasons).

Steve French
Senior Software Engineer
Linux Technology Center - IBM Austin
phone: 512-838-2294
email: sfrench at-sign us dot ibm dot com

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