Manjaro KDE and NAS

You know, I really hate updates.

What I really hate is how the Linux world thinks a major (&)(&*ing change should go in a minor update. Not long ago I wrote this post on getting Manjaro to work with NAS and all was beautiful. Manjaro worked much like other mainstream Linux distros when it came to NAS.

Well we can’t have that!

One of the more annoying things about Manjaro KDE and NAS is the network discovery. Actually it is the support/development staff. One person fixes it so it works very main stream. Then someone else changes it back to an expert friendly hack.

If your one and only target market is a corporate desktop, I guess I can understand this. Department IT people will email you the server name(s) you have access to and tell you the credentials you should use. There could be thousands of network shares in a sizeable corporation.

You shouldn’t be seeking out regular users if you are really writing for the corporate market. First go read the post I linked to. It will provide you some frame of reference for this rant.

Fedora 33

Pictures will help explain my current rant.

Fedora 33 – Other Locations
Fedora 33 – WORKGROUP
Fedora 33 – Network sources

As you can see with Fedora 33, finding the NAS you want to use is a nice graphical progression. That assumes you have applied this hack so your Buffalo devices show up. You apply that same hack to Ubuntu for a more direct approach.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Ubuntu – Other Locations

Manjaro 20.2.1

With Manjaro (KDE at least, haven’t tried others) you have to click on Network, then double click “Add Network Folder.”

Manjaro KDE – Network
You need to select Execute
Select Windows network drive
Now you have to enter all of the information

I think you are starting to see the “expert friendly” portion of this. Most mere mortal users won’t know how to find this information.

Various lookup commands part 1
various lookup commands part 2
Various lookup commands part 3

I’m sure there are hundreds of other ways. I’m also certain most GUI users aren’t going to did deep enough to find such obscure commands. They are just going to install Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.

Note, you still have to identify which shares are on the server.

show shares for server

If you have NAS on your network that supports the new standard, but your routers and some of your other NAS don’t support the SMB2 protocol this is what you have to do. None of your WORKGROUP drives will show up in the GUI because the router hosting your WORKGROUP doesn’t directly support the newer protocol.

Yes, we now have to apply the hack previously applied to Ubuntu and Fedora. It looks a little different here though.

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
smb.conf

Change the “client min protocol” line from SMB2 to NT1. Once you save that, if you are using the smbclient command in a terminal, you don’t even have to reboot. You do have to reboot so the GUI notices the change.

Once you reboot things will seem a bit more normal.

You can now see WORKGROUP in “Shared Folders”
All is right with the world

I know one thing for certain; not going to upgrade my router until my Buffalo NAS dies.

How to Make Manjaro 20.2 work with NAS

You installed Manjaro because you wanted a modern Linux without Ubuntu bloat. Now you can’t find your NAS.

I gotta tell ya man, it’s getting so you can’t keep anything anymore. Admittedly I’m surprised either my WD MyCloud or the Buffalo NAS I have are still operational. Generally “consumer grade” hard drives meet their 5 year MTB by being powered off for at least 4 of those years.

Every day I come into the office expecting to see one of them dead. Definitely started becoming more and more choosy about what I keep on them. I’ve even bought newer USB drives to plug into them, both expanding their available storage and providing a newer spindle to hold the stuff I would really like to have survive my next round of splattered platter syndrome.

The truly sad part about having 6TB or more of NAS is coming to the realization you either have to back this stuff up or kiss it goodbye when the drive(s) goes. Consumer grade NAS generally have a single drive. Some have a pair of drives, but you have to do a full mirror (cutting storage in half) if you actually want to recover anything. That also assumes the power supply in the unit isn’t what cooks. After that you have to move up to the commercial grade NAS with higher prices and RAID levels. You also have to also keep one of those pricey drives with cartridge on a shelf to swap in at the moment of failure.

Linux distros today are either not installing the pieces of Samba necessary to access older NAS or they are deliberately turning that part off in the configuration. I’ve already written about this problem with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Thankfully Manjaro didn’t make the issue quite as obscure as Ubuntu. Open a terminal.

sudo pacman -S manjaro-settings-samba

When that runs you will see something like the following.

After the install

It says you need to reboot for the changes, but I’m running the KDE version of Manjaro and Dolphin too to the changes right away.

Dolphin after install

Just to be complete, here is my Manjaro information.

Manjaro version

Happy NAS!

How to Make Ubuntu 20.04 Work with Buffalo NAS

We’ve all been there. You install a new Ubuntu release and sh*t doesn’t work. It’s really frustrating when it is sh*t that has worked for years. Well, here is how you fix it.

Buffalo (and I suspect some other brands) are horribly behind when it comes to network standards and security. More importantly they never seem to push updates out for these things. I guess that is why they are cheap. What screwed you in Ubuntu 20.04 is a new default minimum standard for network communications. You are going to have to bookmark this fix and refer to it every time you upgrade to a new Ubuntu release until your Buffalo drive dies.

Adding insult to injury, Ubuntu no longer installs the needed packages by default.

When you select samba-common it will automatically select some other packages. Do this using Synaptic package manager, not that other thing you find in the sidebar menu. When you are done it will look like this.

Next you need to open a terminal window and edit a file which didn’t exist until you installed those packages. I always keep Jed installed on Linux machines for just such ocassions.

sudo jed /etc/samba/smb.conf

You want to add the client line where I show it in the file.

client min protocol = NT1

Save the file and reboot. After that you should have no trouble accessing your Buffalo drive.

Whole Farm Wifi 2015

It has been quite a while since I wrote the original article about this topic. Much of the original equipment probably isn’t even on the market anymore. I had some good years out of that equipment, but have slowly been upgrading. Most of the computers I have purchased recently have had Gigabit bandwidth network ports and most of the portable devices have had speedier wireless N capabilities. At one point I found a sweet deal on a 16 port 10/100/1000 hub so I swapped out the 16 port 10/100 hub I was using in my office.

The non-technical crowd can view a hub as a powered network strip. You have all bought power strips which have 6 or more outlets on them. In concept a network hub (for home use) isn’t much different. You hook up its power then plug a cable in from your network/Internet router. After that you can plug as many network devices in as it has ports and they can all be on your network. The new hub gave network devices within my office the ability to communicate faster, but, bandwidth to the Internet and between buildings was still limited by the wireless capabilities of my router and range extender. It did have me thinking about finally installing a NAS and putting all of these external USB backup devices on a shelf.

About the only part of my original system which still is in service is the external antenna. You can still find those things for sale in many places. I am not certain my new router and range extender need the boost it gives, but, it was already there and the adapter cable I had allowed it to fit the new range extender.

1102151047

What spurred this series of upgrades on was the failure of my existing range extender. It failed in the most annoying of ways. It said it was connected to my router but it refused to actually communicate with it. After spending most of a day trying to troubleshoot the problem I made a trip to Best Buy and picked up a Netgear AC1200 wifi Range Extender.

1102151046
Configuring this range extender is simple. Plug a computer directly into it and boot the computer. Open a Web browser. If the setup page doesn’t load automatically type www.mywifiext.net into the broswer address bar and hit enter. Once you log in with the provided admin password you can easily connect to an existing router.

Note that in the original article I had to use a fixed channel number to make range extenders work well. It is the same for this range extender. You do not want your wireless router scanning various channels because that means your range extender only gets service part of the time. Well, it may not mean it, but given the horrible performance that appears to be what happens.

I continued on this way until I had more free time to devote to upgrading my entire network. Finally I had the time so I ordered some more toys. First I got the matching Netgear AC1200 wifi router. I got the version with antennas because I wanted the best possible range. When it arrived I noticed it had the added benefit of a USB port to attach a regular USB external drive and use it as shared network storage.

1102150918

I also ordered a Western Digital 4TB MyCloud device.

1102151046a

Hooking up the router was a dream. Plug directly into it, boot the computer, open a browser. If the admin page doesn’t automatically load type www.routerlogin.net into the browser admin bar and hit enter. Respond to the login prompt with the provided admin password and you have a nice graphical configuration application.

I forgot my original advice about using fixed channels so I had maddeningly slow access from my office. After a bit of head scratching and looking at my older blog post I figured out what was wrong. I set the router to use channel 4 for the 2.4Ghz band and channel 149 for the 5Ghz band then reconfigured my range extender to use settings from the router. All was great.

Configuring MyCloud was even easier. I opted to plug it directly into my network because wired connections are always faster than wifi. Once again, you open a browser and type wdmycloud in the address bar. No need to actually download software like the instructions say.

There was a tiny bit of prep work getting the USB port to work on the wireless router. I had to freshly format my external DUO drive. I chose to put the DUO on there because it is a dual drive unit configured for RAID. Actually just mirroring. I have 2 identical 1TB drives in it. Anything written to it gets written to both drives so the drive “appears” to be only 1TB in size. The graphical admin pages for the router make configuration a snap.

1102150919

A NAS device is completely different from the USB drive hung off the router. To start with you must create an account for each user of the NAS device. There is a Public repository on the NAS which one could use to share files, but I haven’t. The USB drive hung off the router is Public storage. Anyone able to access your network can access it.

If you are in a multi-building or whole farm situation you need to consider your storage options. Yes, either of these devices can be accessed from anywhere on the network. They can only be accessed “fast” from the local hardwired connections though. Communications between buildings is still limited by available wireless bandwidth. If your goal is to use these devices as communal backup devices then you need to think about that. My goal was just that. I wanted to cycle out the aging local USB drives and the hassle of having to go to each physical machine to delete old backups when the drives started getting full. Now, all of the machines I care to backup can automatically backup to the network devices. Whenever I think about it I can check available storage from whatever computer I happen to be using and free up any needed space.

On the Mint 17 KDE machine, setting up access required a bit of Web searching and thought. You have to figure out how to enable editing of the address bar (it is a clickable menu option, just not obvious) then you need to type addresses in. For the USB drive I forget if it was smb://readyshare/USB_Storage or \\readyshare\USB_Storage which worked. Both Ubuntu 15.10 and Windows 7 were able to easily find the devices on the network. I suspect the new release of Mint will have the same simple access given it will be based on the newer release of Ubuntu.

wdmycloud_ubuntu_browse