This post cost me $20.
But only because I wanted to write it after donating to the NSLU2-Linux project so I could put my money where my keyboard is. It’s a token amount for the great work they’re doing and all the great resources they provide for free. But let’s back up for a moment…
I’ve written about my trouble getting network drives to work in GNU/Linux, and now I’m happy to report I’ve made some progress in that area. (I’m not sure how best to refer to this topic–in the Windows world we usually talk about “mapping a network drive”, but I suspect if it’s more common in Unix to refer to “mounting a remote drive.”)
As mentioned, I have this nifty little Linksys Network Storage Link for USB 2.0 Disk Drives, aka the NSLU2, aka the “slug.” It’s a small low-cost NAS device that runs an embedded version of GNU/Linux. (Is it GNU? It runs BusyBox utilities, which the BusyBox project “about” page says are “cousins” of GNU tools.) (Update: Argh. I got this garbled, thinking about what I’ll write about later. I pointed at NSLU2-Linux because I’m planning to write about the cool stuff you can do by hacking the the device. I’m guessing that BusyBox is part of the updated firmware you get from NSLU2-Linux.)
The NSLU2 uses Samba to handle network shares, and I was getting hung up on file ownership issues when connecting from GNU/Linux, using Fedora (didn’t work at all on Ubuntu):
mount -t cifs -o username=admin "//192.168.1.50/DISK 1" /home/scarpent/nslu_test
(Please read the original if you’re interested in the exciting back story and some helpful advice in the comments which I greatly appreciated although it didn’t quite get me there for the initial problem.)
The problem simmered for a while. I didn’t have the time and/or energy and/or ambition to get in to it again, until I happened to attend an MISRC Seminar on “Open Source” at the University of Minnesota. There I met Christopher Hertel, who is a member of the Samba team. That got me motivated to get back to the investigation and I struck up an email conversation with him, where he was very helpful in getting me pointed in the right direction. I search through a lot of forums and howto docs while trying this stuff, but it can be very nice to have some personal help. Someone to help you figure out the right questions to ask and areas to search in.
Now there is the tale to be told, so I can repeat all this if and when necessary, and maybe help someone else along the way. Documentation is always a struggle, and the way I keep notes seems to be in flux. There is the question of private versus public notes. As I start writing more of this on the web, it takes additional effort to make it consumable by others. I need something more than cryptic reminders for myself. I think it’s worth the effort, though. I receive so much benefit from other people sharing their knowledge that I want to do the same in turn, if possible.
In addition to additional explanation needed for the web, there is a challenge in the way I acquire the knowledge and experience. It can be kind of chaotic (which I’m sure is not unusual). For example, I probably have Firefox open and accumulate 20 or more tabs along the way. I have multiple terminal windows open. I make a lot of false starts and wrong turns. On the one hand, if I write/copy things down too soon, I have a lot of extraneous information to deal with. That, and it can hamper the creative, problem solving process. I like racing ahead even while I feel some anxiety over details that might slip away. Always the details. I probably try to capture too much minutia in life, which can detract from digging deeper in to a given area and really focusing my attention on some bigger challenges. (That’s one of the reasons I’m impatient to get going with using GNU/Linux for useful work. I don’t want to get caught in the trap of endlessly tinkering with the system as a kind of mental masturbation. As good as it might feel, there are more satisfying forms of, er, um… I’ll let the analogy stop there.)
I want the knowledge to become embedded, also. Have my brain’s “muscle memory” play a part in the learning. But I need the notes, experience tells me. My brain is like a sieve, in many ways, and I share Homer Simpson’s lament: “Every time I learn something new, something old falls out of my brain.” So I need the notes, but when do I make them? If I wait until afterwards (this is the other hand), it all starts to recede and some information is lost in the shuffle. Like right now, it’s getting too late to do the recap, so hopefully I’ll get to it tomorrow and still remember the important details…
Please stay tuned for more exciting adventures of the dancing slug!