Samba & Bonjour with Avahi

Samba & Bonjour with Avahi

Okay, so you have a shiny new Linux box, and it’s running Samba, all nice and configured to share your files.  You have a Mac, and you want to use it with your nifty new Windows shares.  You can connect with Command-K in the finder, but it doesn’t show up in Finder under the Shared section.

You need Avahi.

I won’t bother going into the details of configuring Samba.  If you’ve not gotten that far, there are some pretty good resources out on the ‘net that will tell you how.  Where interacting with Bonjour is concerned, however, most of the references I found were flat wrong with modern OS X and Samba.

To make this work, the steps are simple (I’m running Ubuntu 12.04, so you may have to adjust accordingly for your Linux distro of choice).  The first step is to install Avahi:

root@core:/# apt-get install avahi-daemon avahi-utils

When this command completes, you’ll essentially have Bonjour running on your Linux box.  This has a number of advantages, most notably that you can now log into the thing by hostname (eg. core.local for my machine) without having to configure DNS.  But it still won’t allow you to browse shares in Finder; for that, you need a bit of configuration.

And so we move to step 2: create a file in /etc/avahi/services called smb.service, and place the following content in it:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone='no'?>
<!DOCTYPE service-group SYSTEM "avahi-service.dtd">
 <name replace-wildcards="yes">%h</name>

Upon saving it, your new Linux box will happily appear in the Finder sidebar, and should all work.  You don’t even need to restart Avahi; it’ll pick up the new service file automagically.

There are other references out there for how to do this, but they all use port 139 – which doesn’t work.  I haven’t a clue when Microsoft changed the port number, but whatever; I don’t really care.  I have finder browsing goodness, so I’m happy.

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