Mounting Network File Systems


This guide describes connecting to either local or remote computer systems from Debian/Ubuntu/Mint desktops. Syntax will differ with other systems.

Using sshfs File Shares in Linux


Throughout these instructions, replace HOSTNAME, DOMAIN, and TLD with the host computer name to be accessed, the domain for the host computer, and the top-level domain (.com, .net, etc.). For example, HOSTNAME.DOMAIN.TLD might be replaced with for the work server at GitHub.

Part 1: Configure Filesystems

This section configures the desktop to use remote filesystems by installing and loading the kernel module fuse, which is not included by default. Save the bash script to your home folder, open a console session, and execute the script with the command:

sudo bash

Assign a local mount point (a file directory pointer) for shares on the remote computer:

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/HOSTNAME/

Part 2. Setup Server Access

This section is performed once for each remote computer, to add information about the computer to the local desktop. Instructions are provided using Domain Names. IP addresses would also work, but then the shares would not be accessible both locally and remotely. When DNS is properly configured, access works whether the connection is local, bridged, VPN, or public.

Add a line describing a computer to auto.master with the following console command (remember, replace HOSTNAME with the computer name):

sudo bash < <(echo 'echo "/mnt/HOSTNAME /etc/auto.HOSTNAME --timeout=30 --ghost" >> /etc/auto.master')

Create and edit the host computer configuration file, auto.HOSTNAME, to provide share-specific information:

sudoedit /etc/auto.HOSTNAME

and enter and save the share configuration information, such as:

public -fstype=fuse,rw,nodev,nonempty,noatime,max_read=65536,allow_other,compression=yes,uid=$UID,gid=$GID,StrictHostKeyChecking=no,IdentityFile=$HOME/.ssh/id_rsa,umask=0007 :sshfs\#$USER@HOSTNAME.DOMAIN.TLD\:/home/samba/shares/public/
* -fstype=fuse,rw,allow_other,nodev,nonempty,noatime,max_read=65536,compression=yes,uid=$UID,gid=$GID,StrictHostKeyChecking=no,IdentityFile=$HOME/.ssh/id_rsa,umask=0077 :sshfs\#$USER@HOSTNAME.DOMAIN.TLD\:/home/&

Restart the autofs module to load the changed configuration:

sudo service autofs restart

When prompted for the root password of the remote host, press <Ctrl-C> to exit the command.

Part 3. Provide your ssh key

This section must be performed for each local user who will access the remote computer. Type the following commands to (1) create ssh keys provided a set does not exist, and (2) copy the user public key to the remote computer for authentication:

if [ ! -f "$HOME/.ssh/id_rsa" ]; then ssh-keygen; fi
ssh-copy-id `id -un`@HOSTNAME.DOMAIN.TLD

Now verify that the remote folders will mount:

ls -al /mnt/HOSTNAME
ls /mnt/HOSTNAME/`id -un`

Create desktop links to folders in /mnt/HOSTNAME for easy access. On workstations which might access servers remotely over slow Internet links, do not create bookmarks.

When this does not work

If the public folder or user home folder will not mount, try the following:

chmod og-w ~
chmod og-w ~/.ssh
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Server SSHFS Configuration

Install authentication and sharing modules on the remote server as follows:

sudo aptitude install openssh-server libpam-modules

The default host umask=0022 will shade permissions for files and folders created on the remote shares. Private home folders with umask=0077 will work just fine, but public folders needing umask=0007 will result in incorrect permissions which block write access. To prevent this problem:

sudoedit /etc/pam.d/sshd

Now add the following three lines:

# Default umask mask for SSH/SFTP sessions
# Shell sessions: Override with /etc/profile or ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile
session    optional umask=0000

As noted above, actual ssh shell logins on the remote host will get the default umask=022 on new files and directories. The following command will change this for all shell logins:

sudo sed -i s/umask 022/umask 0007/ /etc/profile

A logged in user could change just her own default umask with the command:

sudo sed -i s/#umask\ 022/umask\ 0007/ ~/.profile


How to mount SFTP accesses.

SSH Remote Consoles

A favorite Windows consultant expression is, “Just telnet into the server.” Telnet has been deprecated for a very long time in the Linux world. Instead, ssh provides encrypted communications for remote access over insecure channels such as the Internet. We recommend using the PuTTY utility to manage ssh sessions on all platforms.

Redirecting SSH to PuTTY

PuTTY is an open-source cross-platform client for secure ssh connections with remote hosts. It is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac, and it is the preferred client on Windows. PuTTY adds power to interactive sessions. For example, a user can add a port forwarding rule within a running terminal session.

For a KDE desktop system derived from Debian, the following console commands will redirect SSH to PuTTY (courtesy of VonGrippen, AKA Michael Cochran):

bash < <(wget -O-)

Test the command’s result in your browser with the following link:



The URL points to the source file at The URL shortening command was curl -i -F "url=" -F "code=kde-putty"

Example PuTTY Session:

This program works magic which is best explained through an example, as follows. An administrator wishes to connect to a remote Windows session running on a network behind a Linux server. The Linux server is accessed at the domain name https://HOSTNAME.DOMAIN.TLD. Both the Windows session and the Linux server authenticate username and password for logins.

First start a console on the local machine, then ssh to the remote server:

xdg-open ssh://`id -un`@HOSTNAME.DOMAIN.TLD

Now explore the remote environment to identify Windows RDP servers. Recommended commands are:

smbclient -L NETBIOSNAME

These commands identify a windows session on host XPUSER. Now find the IP for this machine using either of the commands:

net lookup XPUSER
nmblookup XPUSER

Suppose the remote Windows terminal server XPUSER uses IP in its local network. Display the PuTTY menu with <Ctrl-RightClick>, and choose Change Settings.... Then select Category: Connection > SSH > Tunnels and enter:

Source port: 3389
Click – Add
Click – Apply

Finally, open the KRDC Remote Desktop client on the KDE Desktop, and connect using protocol rdp to localhost. A remote Windows RDP session will display as if it were local, being redirected to you over SSH.

Using SAMBA4 Shares

Configuring Ubuntu desktop

The computer hostname must be valid for Windows; meaning it must start with a letter, and only characters A-Z, 0-9, or ._ are allowed. Edit the host/hostname configuration using the command:

sudo nano /etc/hosts /etc/hostname

Next install samba4 with the command:

sudo apt-get install samba4

Set the workgroup or domain for the computer with the command:

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