Files and File Sharing Instruction

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This section describes the various file managers that are available for managing the files on your PC-BSD system. It then shows how you can configure your PC-BSD system to share files with other systems in your network using Samba.

File Managers and File Structure

Depending upon which desktops you have installed, different graphical file manager utilities are available for PC-BSD. Note that you don't need to be logged into a window manager to use an installed file manager. For example, if KDE is installed, you can run its file manager from any desktop by typing dolphin. The supported desktops provide their own file managers while most of the unsupported desktops assume that you will install your favourite file manager. Table 8.6a summarizes the available file managers and indicates which desktop they are installed with. Some file managers can be installed independent of a desktop using AppCafe™ to install the PBI. Once a file manager is installed, type its name if you wish to run it from another desktop.

Table 8.6a: Available File Managers

File Manager Desktop/PBI Screenshots Notes
dolphin KDE
emelfm2 PBI
/usr/local/GNUstep/Apps/ Window Maker
krusader PBI
mucommander PBI
nautilus GNOME
pcmanfm LXDE or PBI
thunar XFCE or PBI unable to automount internal NTFS disks (try pcmanfm or emelfm2 instead)
xfe PBI

When working with files on your PC-BSD system, save your own files to your home directory. Since most of the files outside of your home directory are used by the operating system and applications, you should not delete or modify any files outside of your home directory, unless you know what you are doing.

Table 8.6b summarizes the directory structure found on a PC-BSD system. man hier explains this directory structure in more detail.

Table 8.6b: PC-BSD Directory Structure

Directory Contents
/ pronounced as "root" and represents the beginning of the directory structure
/bin/ applications (binaries) that were installed with the operating system
/boot/ stores the startup code, including kernel modules (such as hardware drivers)
/compat/linux/ Linux software compatibility files
/dev/ files which are used by the operating system to access devices
/etc/ operating system configuration files
/etc/X11/ the xorg.conf configuration file
/etc/rc.d/ operating system startup scripts
/home/ subdirectories for each user account; each user should store their files in their own home directory
/lib/ operating system libraries needed for applications
/libexec/ operating system libraries and binaries
/media/ mount point for storage media such as DVDs and USB drives
/mnt/ another mount point
/proc/ the proc filesystem required by some Linux applications
/rescue/ necesary programs for emergency recovery
/root/ administrative account's home directory
/sbin/ operating system applications; typically only the superuser can run these applications
/tmp/ temporary file storage; files stored here may disappear when the system reboots
/usr/bin/ contains most of the command line programs available to users
/usr/local/ contains the binaries, libraries, startup scripts, documentation, and configuration files used by applications installed from ports or packages
/usr/pbi/ contains the binaries, libraries, startup scripts, documentation, and configuration files used by instaleld PBIs
/usr/local/share/fonts/ system wide fonts for graphical applications
/usr/local/share/icons/ system wide icons
/usr/ports/ location of system ports tree (if installed)
/usr/share/ system documentation and man pages
/usr/sbin/ command line programs for the superuser
/usr/src/ location of system source code (if installed)
/var/ files that change (vary), such as log files and print jobs


Samba allows any operating system to share volumes using Microsoft's CIFS protocol. There are two components to Samba:

  • client libraries: this allows an operating system to access existing CIFS shares. The client is built into the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems and is installed for you during the PC-BSD installation. Most Linux distros also install the Samba client; if your Linux distro does not, search its software repository.
  • server: this allows a computer to act like a Windows server in that it can create shares and printers that are available to any CIFS client on the same network.

This section will demonstrate how to access shares using the Samba client as well as how to configure your PC-BSD system as a Samba server.

Using the Samba Client

Since the Samba client libraries are pre-installed for you, you simply have to decide which utility you prefer to access the Windows shares on your network. Remember, if a desktop is installed, you do not have to be logged into that desktop in order to use that utility.

Table 8.6c summarizes the available utilities (type a utility's name to launch it in any desktop), which desktop it installs with and whether or not a separate PBI is available, and a short description of how to access the available shares using that utility.

Table 8.6c: Utilities that Support Windows Shares

Utility Desktop/PBI How to Access Existing Shares
dolphin KDE in the left frame, click on Network ➜ Samba Shares, then the Workgroup name; if the network requires a username and password to browse for shares, set this in Control Panel ➜ System Settings ➜ Sharing
konqueror KDE in the location bar, type smb:/
krusader PBI add Local Network to toolbar by going to Settings ➜ Configure Toolbars; once in toolbar click Local Network ➜ Samba Shares
mucommander PBI click on Go ➜ Connect to server ➜ SMB; ; here you can input the NETBIOS name of server, name of share, name of domain (or workgroup), and the share's username and password
nautilus GNOME click on Go ➜ Network ➜ Windows Network
thunar XFCE or PBI in the left frame, click on Network ➜ Windows Network