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I'm looking for a software solution for sharing files on a local network.

I have at home several computers, some are running Windows 10, some others Linux. I have one computer in particular running Linux Debian where I wish I could receive any file (text, picture, or pdf) from any computer of my local network. For example, from my Windows PC, I wish to send a text file to that Linux machine, from another Linux computer I'd like to send a picture to this machine.

The problem is I'm looking for a solution with no or very little setup on the sender machines. No software installation or preconfiguration. I can't setup all my computers, furthermore I need a native solution because if someone comes home and want to share a file to the Linux machine, I want him to be able to. However on the receiver machine i don't care if there's a need for configuration.

I have a classical installation, what we would expect from a private, so a router on which are connected all my computers wirelessly or with an Ethernet cable.

I've heard of samba but I'm not sure if it's exactly what I'm looking for. Besides I've heard security concerns about it. I know Syncthing too, but that's not a good solution for me since it need a configuration beforehand.

Thanks for your help.

PS : Optionality , it would be great if it worked on Android cell phone too!

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    Unless you have Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, the only way for Windows to access shares from Linux is via Samba, FTP, or HTTP. Rather than setting up a file server on each computer, you are better off buying a NAS and using that as a file server and connecting to it with each computer. It's far easier to manage one than several. – Nasir Riley Jul 27 '19 at 23:50
  • Does magic-wormhole come close enough to "no software installation"? It specifically does secure one-off direct file transfers between computers at any distance. If you really do mean "no software installation" I don't see how this can possibly be on-topic here (you would need to be on Web Applications, presumably). – Michael Homer Jul 28 '19 at 0:39
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    Why spend hundreds on a NAS when @Nicryc already has a debian machine? installing Samba on it will turn it into a fileserver compatible with pretty much everything. A consumer-grade NAS is just an over-priced, under-powered computer running linux or freebsd and samba and maybe NFS and other stuff, anyway. – cas Jul 28 '19 at 2:04
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    this is what i do at home.. I have similar networks setup, router/wifi - centos/windows/mac. I got me a WD MyCloud NAS for about $100. Lot of similar NAS disks available on Amazon/Frys/BestBuy - No setup needed. support every thing a small startup needs, so personal needs should be ok. any thing I need to share I put it on that disk - and is available on all device s – user3723896 Jul 28 '19 at 4:26
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SAMBA has no more, or no less, security risk than any other app which can do what it does; Debian has a straightforward tutorial.

Android clients for SAMBA abound in the Google Play store, and TechRepublic has a HOWTO for you.

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    K7AAY is correct: the security concerns around SAMBA are at the protocol level, so will be common to all implementations. Since it is the common factor without adding additional software to the clients it is the only solution for a file server in this use case. As long as it stays behind a firewall and you secure the LAN it will be fine. – robartsd Jul 29 '19 at 22:06
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Check out nextcloud - it may be overkill for you, but it is fairly easy to set up server-side (it even has a snap!). I'm not totally sure what you're worried about security concern wise, but it's designed to be public internet facing so whatever you're worried about can probably be covered, and you can set up multiple user accounts with access to different sets of files.

Client-wise, nextcloud has a nice web interface if you're looking to just quickly upload and download files (both a login client and login-less upload and download only share links), and dropbox-esq sync clients for Windows, OSx, Linux, Android, and iOS.

It's also all FOSS :)

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I've got a couple of ideas I've written out for you below:

OPTION 1

If you've got a spare Windows machine or even a computer/laptop that you use running Windows – make a Windows share and host it for the network from that PC at an address such as: \computername\sharedfoldername – then install SAMBA on your CentOS machine and use the command:

smbclient -L WINDOWS_COMPUTER_NAME_OR_IP_ADDRESS

as ROOT in CentOS terminal.  Make sure you have the IPv4 address or network name of that Windows machine to replace WINDOWS_COMPUTER_NAME_OR_IP_ADDRESS with in that command. Then you could mount to a folder in CentOS or just access as a network drive.

To access as a network drive, open your file explorer on CentOS (mine is Caja) and find the location:

smb://WINDOWS_COMPUTER_NAME_OR_IP_ADDRESS/sharedfoldername/

But replace the IP/computer name again and the windows share name. It will ask you for credentials.  You can sign in anonymously, but if you have protected folders, use the credentials from the windows machine.

(In case you don't know – to make a Windows share for the network, create a folder on a local drive on the hosting Windows machine, right click on it and find the share option, choose who you want to access (if you choose a specific user from the hosting windows machine, that is the credentials that you'll need to use for the connection from CentOS) and press share, it will give you a location path (/computername/sharedfolder/) on the network. You can access this from ANY Windows PC or CentOS machine on the network.

OPTION 2:

Locate your router and plug a hard drive/USB drive into a USB socket in the back of it. Use a Windows machine to access the drive on the network, then no machine is needed to host this and it's free. - You can access this by opening File Explorer on Windows and entering the path:

/192.168.******/

The * represents your router's IP address which is the same one as the one you will use to configure it online and will show somewhere on the back of it. Once accessed by a computer on your network, you can then see all drives plugged in – you can even MAP A NETWORK DRIVE to your WINDOWS PC by right clicking and choosing map. Then this works as a sort of shared network drive accessible by all those on the network (unless you specify which users can access) and connects automatically on Windows. Unfortunately, I don't yet know how to access this network drive from the router on CentOS or Android... – but there's some YouTube videos or online tutorials that explain how to do it but none have worked for me. I prefer option 1 because I know how to access from CentOS and it comes in handy because I have an old Windows laptop in the cupboard on sleep mode always but hosting these files. You can make as many shares as you want with it so I find it quite handy.

About Android – not sure, you may be able to find something to connect it to (possibly SAMBA) on the play store...?

Security concerns with SAMBA – I haven't noticed any and I've been using the above for a while.

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  • Thanks to whoever edited my entire answer to rid it of grammar/spelling mistakes. – ekv_56 May 28 at 6:29

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