[sclug] NetWare Filesys

Damion Yates damiony at is.bbc.co.uk
Fri Apr 15 10:39:43 UTC 2005

On Fri, 15 Apr 2005, AdamT wrote:

> Dear collective,
> I'm fairly well-versed with using SAMBA to create 'NT' shares on
> linux boxen, but is there a way of making Linux act as a Novell
> NetWare server?  Preferably as part of an existing NDS tree, but so
> long as the likes of Arcserve think it's NetWare 5.x, it doesn't
> matter too much..

Ahh it's been a while, probably 7+ years, since I last used Netware.
That'll have been while supporting a bit of the civil service in St
Annes nr Blackpool while in ICL, but I did have some fun.

I was there while they were slowly migrating to Netware 4, from 3 (and
win3.1 to win95 - yes in 1997).  At this time you could already get
the free "Mars netware emulator", which would make your Linux box act
as a netware 3 server in basic um.. "bindary" mode is it called?  I
think this is still mentioned when you compile a kernel with IPX as
you have to pick if you want internal IPX routing or not in some
option, as this can clash with the daemon if you want to run it.

Like Samba and NFS and no doubt others (DFS/AFS?) this would export a
chosen part of your system.  Unlike NFS (if I recall, and possibly
others) you could trivially re-export, so I was able to smbmount
somebodies windows directory they were sharing with WfW3.11 and
symbolically link it in to an ncpmount (netware core protocol) that
I'd also mounted from a real Netware 3 server and also some of my own
ext2 local disk.

DOS boxes mounting it had no idea, and I could also use the unused 5
login slots beyond connection 250 (obviously connection id was stored
in a byte, supervisor was allow the rest of the slots for when all
connections were used up).  Also boxes attaching to my server on the
network, would pick up the default L:\LOGIN> directory before logging
in properly (which I had binaries mounted from an ncpmount).   But
this time, before logging in uses could change in to a directory they
had write permissions, they could still login too of course.  Futher
down the directory tree they'd enter another direction which was
actually some guys C:\WINDOWS\ he was sharing!  Those were the days,
doing things on Linux that no other OS could do.  It all seems to be downhill
these days, with a constant catchup battle :(  I was also running MS
Office in wine and had Enlightenment with pixmapped rxvt's just for
eye candy for friends with their umimpressive Win95 desktops (c 1997).

Anyway, enough nostalgia.   From what I recall, Novell started to sell
a Linux package which would make your server a Netware 4 (when NDS
arrived) server via a daemon.  I believe the free/trial one was
limited in someway, but that may have been just a limit for, say 6
users max, which would work for what you want.

I also believe, unless I'm understanding their goals completely wrong,
that Novell's future developments of Netware, will be daemons on a
Linux system rather than just their own OS (just like PICK systems
started to do did many many years ago despite having a nice OS).
Netware 3 had loads of native x86 code (I think written by german
techies) good at lumping data from a HD to a network card.  Ever since
then it's got more complex and slow, like many OSes, on the other hand
only by a %age each time, the PCs have grown a order of magnitude
faster over the same time so nobody cares.

So basically, I think the answer is yes.  I /may/ have a copy of the
old trial version to make a Linux server fake being a netware 4.1x
box, it'll almost certainly be hard to get going with old libraries
needed.  You'll also probably find Arcserve will mount in legacy
bindary mode (I think it's called that), which means you can use the
opensource mars_nwe, but compiling this may be hard as times have
moved on so interfaces will have changed.  You probably want to check
www.novell.com and see if yo can get a Netware 7 or 8 or whatever they
are up to now, and it may have a Linux daemon version.

Good luck.



Damion Yates - email: Damion.Yates at bbc.co.uk - phone: +44 (0) 1628 407759

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