Networking options

I’ve been away from PC and software things for a long time and have some basic questions now that I’m building new systems.

I setup a Samba network many years ago, connecting multiple PC’s on the property. (all hail Swerdna!)
As I recall it was not a simple task and again if memory serves I was told Samba for connnecting all Linux boxes is overkill.
Wanting to avoid unnecessary complication, I’ve read a lot of pages about SFTP, NFS, SSH looking for options and frankly I’m completely overwhelmed.

In the course of that, I’m not getting any information about GUI options using any of those protocols (if that’s the right word).
I don’t necessarily want to transfer files to a client, though that could also be useful.
Mainly I want to be able to use LibreOffice to access/change documents or sheets that reside on the server from any of the remote clients.

So my initial questions:

  1. Which of the four protocols is the most elegant solution for an all Linux network to allow files to be read/written on the server, from any of the remote clients?

I recall I could access files using Dolphin on my old Samba setup. Click on the file listed on the server and it would open up on the client.
2. Do the other 3 Networking protocols work the same once they are set up? Or are all the functions just manipulated via command line?


I am not sure I can follow your bewilderment.

To enable (part of) a directory tree to be available on another system, there is NFS (Network File System). NFS server exports a directory (and thus all that belongs in that directory). An NFS client can then mount this as if it were a file system. And when you understand what mounting is, then that directory will be shown to users of the client system on it’s place (mount point) in the directory tree of the client system like all mounted file systems. That is transparent to the users. (do you as user ever mind on what file system a particular file is? No, you just go there by specifying the path, either from the CLI or from a GUI file browser).

Samba is something similar, but it is made for environments where the server and the client are of a different denominations: one being MS windows, the other being Unix/Linux (either way around). I see no use of even trying to understand what Samba is when you only have Unix/Linux boxes.

SFTP is a file transfer protocol. So when you want to copy files from one system to another, you look into things like FTP and/or SFTP.

SSH is a remote login protocol, basicaly for shell usage. like Telnet, but much more secure. And it facilitates GUI usage over an established connection as well as file transfer (SFTP, yes, here it is).

Yast has modules for SMB and NFS servers and clients. One or two have to be installed first (IINM nfs-client).

I primarily use NFS between linux boxes (and firetv sticks, etc.). For Android I use KDEConnect, which is limited to “send” only, so you need to use the app on both devices to send and receive files. I had an Android app that would browse the SMB server shares, letting me read and write to them, but it has been deprecated.

After creating the NFS mount points in the client, with soft, noauto and timeo/retrans limits (so the client won’t stall if the server is offline), I can mount the shares from the Places panel (remote/hidden places) and access them normally with Dolphin. IFAIR I could mount access shares by URL in Konqueror, but not in Dolphin.

NFS and SMB Yast modules let you set, edit and remove exports (nfs-client) and mount points (nfs-server), and SMB shares (Samba-server). I never had the need to use SFTP or SSH, using NFS or SMB is easier for me.

Don’t forget to enable the relevant services/ports in Yast Firewall. These gave me a few headaches. Currently I have the related services enabled, for an internal - i.e., not web facing - server:




P.S.: The linux server is LEAP 15.3 and clients are LEAP 15.3/15.2/Mint, Windows 10 and RPi’s.
I suppose it’s not different in Tumbleweed.

A very simple answer to a quite simple question: NFS
The server can export the/any folder.
Multiple clients can import it by just mounting it to a local folder.
It works like a charm. As a user you hardly notice it’s “remote” - it’s just a folder (if it’s in your LAN, of course).
And it’s Linux native.
Just my 2 cent.

Thanks all. 3 different yet all excellent responses.
I’m off to pursue the NFS solution as noted.