[Samba] Make CIFS look like NFS

Edward Ned Harvey floppy-eared-dog at nedharvey.com
Sat Jun 6 11:17:38 GMT 2009

> I'm trying to run an IMAP mail server (Dovecot) in a virtual machine.
> However, I do not want the messages stored within the virtual disk.  So
> - the question was how the virtual machine could access those files.
> Dovecot has been setup and tested with NFS.  However, when I asked

The best answer to this question is exactly what you're doing - testing it will give you results probably more convincing than anything anyone could say to you.  That being said ...

NFS is a more native network filesystem for unix machines, so it really only makes sense to use samba if you have some compelling reason not to use NFS.  Do you have some reason NFS would be bad in this case?

There are many differences between samba and nfs, however, there are only two that I think are likely to be true roadblocks for you.  File permissions ... In samba you can configure the umask to be whatever you like, but you can't do it on a file-by-file basis.  So you're missing granularity there if you need it.  And in samba, certain characters (most notably the ':' colon character) are not valid.

There may be some difference in the way file locking is handled.  This would only matter if you had more than one system accessing the same files at the same time - but I don't think that's the case for you, huh.  Because it's an imap server, and you're not going to run two separate imap servers on the same directory.

The issue you mentioned with missing tmp files ... sounds bogus to me.  I can't think of any way samba could cause that, unless it's just a side-effect of one of the aforementioned possible roadblocks.

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