How to set up a Home Network

Hello all! :smiley: I have a question about something that I could search the internet for, and actually I have, but I want to know how to do this from a safety/security/freedom angle, which means y’all are the best bet. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Basically, I want to know how to set up a home network between two Linux (Mint, Cinnamon) laptops the right way. I found this super short, seemingly easy video: Create a home network for file sharing in Linux Mint - YouTube and I started the process just to see what was involved, but when I was in the Folder Sharing options Mint says: “Samba needs to be installed, appropriate firewall rules need to be added and your user account needs to join the ‘sambashare’ group.” That youtube video never mentions Samba, but someone in the comments said that you only need it for sharing between Linux and Windows, which I don’t need or want to do. But Mint says that, so Samba must be needed. Hmm.

After using both Windows and MacOS for decades I’ve gotten kinda suspicious of everything, haha! So, here’s my question(s): Is Samba safe to install? Is it smart to even have a home network at all? Should I just use a flash drive to transfer stuff from one computer to another instead?

Thank you so much!! :sweat_smile: :raised_hands: :grin:

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Hi @hannahgirl

Yes, it would be simpler to just use a USB to transfer files. You could also use a cloud service like ecloud or NextCloud to transfer items over the internet.

As to the Samba question: Samba is FOSS, so there should not be any issues with using it.

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Hello again, @hannahgirl!
Samba is the general file-sharing service for Linux, regardless of what other operating systems need. It will allow the file sharing between Linux systems as well as it will allow access for both Windows and Mac devices. It’s a protocol of communication and this always remains the same.

However, Samba has its tricky requirements. First, you will need to make your username as member of the - in this case - Samba Group.

Open up a terminal and type in (in every Linux Mint):

sudo useradd -G sambagroup username

Replace username with your actual username. You will see the username when you open up your file manager and navigate to your /home folder. The name of the directory you see there is the username.

Also, your Samba password is different from your account password, so this is important to remember. Once you add your username to the sambagroup, perform the following terminal command:

smbpasswd -a username

Again, replace username with your actual username.

Of course all of this will be valid once you install samba:

sudo apt install samba

From there on, it should be pretty straightforward. Remember to add all the usernames (if you have more uses) to the Samba Group I mentioned above, including the passwords. :slight_smile:

From there on, you can essentially right click on the folder you want from your file manager and select to share it.

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@vasileios thank you so much for replying!! I was looking into NextCloud, but I’d rather do what you’ve so awesomely typed up there. I read through your post three times to really familiarize myself with it and then I started the process, but I got hung up this sentence: “your Samba password is different from your account password”.

How do I get a Samba password? I tried searching the internet, and I found the site (https://www.samba.org/), but there’s nothing there about setting up an account… Hmm. Oh, how new I am to all things FOSS! :joy::grimacing:

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The SAMBA password would be set by you when you install it.
Here is a good video for you:

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You’re welcome @hannahgirl!
Once you execute the above command I posted, it will ask you to set a password of your liking!
Also, what @Will sent is a beautiful guide!

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@Will Thank you for replying! I really, really love step by step videos, haha. I’m going to set aside part of an afternoon soon to watch it, thank you so much :relaxed:

Hey @hannahgirl.
I just finished setting up an Ubuntu-based Raspberry Pi 4 as a home SAMBA file server and it works like a charm. That little thing holds now 31TB of storage with 3 devices, one of which is a RAID-1 (mirror drives).

Basically, the process is simple:

Install Samba to your desired server. Then make sure you create the Samba user (or just assign yourself a Samba password). For example, I have a “Vasileios” user.

Then, you can go to your terminal and type in:

cd /etc/samba/
sudo nano smb.conf

Then head to the bottom of the file and add in your shares. I will give you a simple example:

[Share 1]
path = /path_to_your_shared_folder
valid users = username1, username2
read only = no
writable = yes

If for example your folder is called Share on your desktop, then the above path should look like:
path = /home/username/Desktop/Share
Remember to replace the username with your actual username. :slight_smile:
Also, the name in the brackets indicates the name this share will be visible on the network as.

Keep in mind that Samba shares files on a user basis. If you want to have multiple users, then you will need to change the file permissions. For example of the above Share folder, this would look like:

sudo chmod 777 -R /home/username/Desktop/Share

Again, you will need to replace the username with your actual username.

Once that is done, then I would recommend a nice little app that will immediately make your shares available on the network tab of other systems.

sudo apt install libnss-mdns

Once all the above are done, then you can restart Samba to put everything to work.

sudo systemctl restart smbd

Additionally, if you need a second share, all you have to do is go back to the smb.conf file and add another set of brackets (with the name of your share) and the additional 4 lines I have further up in bold letters.

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Thanks so much, @vasileios! What an awesome step-by-step. I’ve had to put “make a home network” farther down on my list so I can take time to de-google a Pixel phone that just came. But! I will do this home network someday and I’ll post about it so that anyone reading this thread will know how to be successful too. :relaxed:

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You are most welcome, @hannahgirl!
Once you get your hands on it, everything becomes much easier. Don’t be afraid to experiment, as it’s the best way to learn and it stays with you!
So, if you need anything, please feel free to call out! :slight_smile:

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Hey Vasileios! On the topic of Home Networks, I was wondering if this is a good alternative to the other cloud services we all know and hope to avoid (haha): Ecloud - e Foundation - deGoogled unGoogled smartphone operating systems and online services - your data is your data. It’s probably not as secure as making one’s own network, but I really only want to be able to send/share a document or two with my family once in a while–nothing sensitive or highly personal.

Here’s what I read someone said that got me interested:
“Nextcloud is what eCloud uses. Nextcloud is the open source version of Google’s or Microsft’s 365 online ecosystems.
You can also get the same service through other Nextcloud based providers, or you can create your own Virtual Private Server and put your own version of Nextcloud on it, and completely control your data yourself.”

What are your thoughts about Ecloud? Any warnings or tips/advice? Thanks so much :relaxed:

Hey @hannahgirl!
I haven’t personally used eCloud, but it does look quite enticing. However, it appears that you may need to set it up on an actual server you will need to manage (such as a VPS). That’s if they actually support a free version. Otherwise, if your budget can handle it, it can be a good solution - though it offers much more than you may actually need.

Another safe solution is also pcloud, which can be budget friendly and is quite secure and private:

You might want to look at Synology RAID systems (just the 2 drive ones), which create a cloud where you can create a variety of users and share files via the internet. And you will have that drive at home.

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