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Long time ago I made a series of folders where I wanted to mount smb network drives at boot time. It didn't work somehow. Today I tried again, having some more time to spend, and I realized the folders are not accessible, not even for root. What could be the reason?

root@ronny-linux:~# ls -ali /mnt/yantra/home/
ls: cannot access '/mnt/yantra/home/': No such file or directory
root@ronny-linux:~# ls -ali /mnt/yantra/
total 4
   31060 drwxr-xr-x 11 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 .
22413313 drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Sep 14 12:42 ..
   31067 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 backup
   31066 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 documents
   31068 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 downloads
   31069 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 ebook
   31064 drwxrwxrwx  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 home
   31061 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 install
   31065 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 music
   31063 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 photo
   31062 dr-xr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Nov 17 00:20 video
root@ronny-linux:~# 

I cannot access any of these folders, even though they obviously do exist. As you can see, I even assigned the "w" flag to "home", thinking that will fix it, but the problem remains.

Then I thought, maybe they are mounted somehow to something, but "umount /mnt/yantra/home" says it's not mounted.

I'm not expert with Linux by any means, and spent quite some time searching on the web, nobody seems to have described this particular problem. Would anyone know the cause? Thanks.

PS: the supposedly non-existing folder name was expanded by pressing tab, so it's not any spelling mistake, and the system knows it exists.

PS2: I also cannot delete the folders, otherwise I would have just removed and recreated them. I assume the fact that the size is listed as 0 has something to do with it, because any other directory I create has size 4096. But I don't know neither the cause nor the solution.

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    I'm not terribly familiar with Samba shares, but usually with network shares, the permissions are handled by the remote system. Network shares also usually treat the root user specially, as you don't want the root on any machine mounting the share to have root file access on the file server. Therefore, I suspect that if you change the owner on the remote directories (on the remote file server) to something other than root, they would be accessible on your system. Also, some network shares allows for "mapping" the local user to some user on the file server (root-->root for example).
    – Kusalananda
    Nov 17, 2019 at 11:01
  • Kusalananda, thank you for your time to read my problem and try to help. My problem however is a basic linux problem, with local folders that cannot be accessed locally. I explained why I made these folders simply to show why I need them, for network shares, but I'm not even getting to that point. I simply cannot access the folders themselves, even before mounting anything to them. I'll edit my post to make this part more clear. Thanks. Nov 17, 2019 at 11:29
  • I hit this issue on a vanilla Linux (RedHat) system. Normal users can have an account that works over the whole system. But every root in a network is a distinct user. Otherwise, hacking one root login would expose your entire network (not just the file server). The workaround is to ssh to the remote as a user (needing a password or public keys) and sudo root on the remote (needing another password). It is also true that Samba and/or NTFS have different admin regimes to a Linux host, which means some functionality (of permissions and ownership) is faked in the interface. Nov 17, 2019 at 11:31

1 Answer 1

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Thanks to the two people who commented, Kusalananda and Paul, I realized it was in fact a "network related problem", even though I was sure it wasn't, since I didn't even get to mounting those subfolders to anything. To me it was a simple, local problem: being unable to access a local folder.

So, to make it short, /mnt/yantra was mounted to something. Not its subfolders. Clearly it was not mounted successfully, otherwise it would have had a different contents, but the system thought it was mounted. I didn't know. I must have written some command somewhere during my previous attempts (long ago) that tries to mount something to /mnt/yantra, because the problem persists through reboot.

But after doing "umount /mnt/yantra" I could successfully manipulate all those subfolders.

So my only question remaining is, where could the command that tries to mount this folder at startup or login be hiding...? Given that it's Linux Mint, so Ubuntu based. It's not in my ~.profile, not in ~/.config/autostart/, not in crontab, don't see anything relevant in /etc/init.d/, and there is no /etc/rc.local . So I'm a bit lost. Anyhow, that's a different question. At least my question posted above is answered.

MY CONCLUSION: when a directory is listed as having size zero, something is mounted on it, or on the folder containing it. Even if it doesn't look like it, because the folder still shows the local contents.

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  • You can't ask a new question as part of an answer. I suggest asking a completely new separate question about the issue relating to the mounting.
    – Kusalananda
    Nov 17, 2019 at 13:08
  • LinuxMint has its own forum, and a big history. Search there, before you post. Nov 17, 2019 at 14:49
  • I know, that's why I wrote, "Anyhow, that's a different question." I wanted to write the full story, that's all. But thank you both for helping me out! Nov 17, 2019 at 17:17

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