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I have seen examples showing how to use davfs2 under linux, but each has involved one of these things:

  1. Running mount as root

  2. Adding an entry to /etc/fstab

  3. Running mount.davfs setuid, which, alas, still requires an entry in /etc/fstab

Can this be avoided? If not, what aspect of webdav prevents it, more than for, e.g. sshfs?

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Davfs2 isn't implemented like a normal FUSE filesystem. The Wikipedia page and the documentation mention that it can work on top of either Coda or FUSE, but the project description doesn't mention FUSE (and hints at native integration). The Debian package does not depend on FUSE, and the binary it ships only runs as root. This is not intrinsic to WebDAV, it's just the way Davfs2 is implemented.

There are other WebDAV filesystem built on FUSE: Fusedav, Wdfs. Fusedav seems to be present in more distributions, but wdfs works better with some broken servers. These will work as long as you're allowed to use FUSE on your system.

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    I couldn't get fusedav to build but wdfs worked for me. Thank you. – Owen Sep 3 '11 at 21:03
  • Alas, wdfs is no longer maintained. – Deer Hunter Jun 23 '15 at 13:25
  • Are there any updates here? Both Fusedav and Wdfs are outdated by a long way (2006 and 2007), which makes them very hard to install on new systems (never mind the security issues that come with it). Surely there must be answer to this question with newer than 13 year old software? – Sebastian Müller Jun 15 '20 at 6:06
  • 1
    @SebastianMüller Probably, but I haven't used DAV in years and I haven't kept up with DAV-related tooling. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jun 15 '20 at 7:27
  • Same for me, if fact, one of the reasons is exactly the discussed issue here. Often I need to download webdav data on a cluster I dont have root access. Sometimes even ftp doesn't work and I end up downloading on my local PC and upload to the cluster which clearly is a big waste but I don't see how else I'd do this. – Sebastian Müller Jun 15 '20 at 8:09

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