Repackaging the SuSE NovFS system for Ubuntu

Jurjen Bokma

May 2009

Table of Contents

The problem


This section far from complete!

The University of Groningen uses Novell's ncpfs network file system to give users access to well backed up and redundant storage. This has worked well in a Windows-only environment, but it is cumbersome now that Linux wants to join in. The protocol is not an open standard, and Novell has not published the source code of the client. The server cannot serve the disk space through other protocols because file locking implemented in the protocol doesn't get through to the underlying filesystem on the server. Support for CIFS, with proper file locking, is under development, but doesn't scale beyond hundreds of clients yet, and is not expected to mature within a year.

The client software is packaged only for Novell SuSE Linux, and even OpenSuSE is not supported. There is some evidence on the Web that OpenSuSE users are trying to fetch the Novell SuSE version and adapt it to OpenSuSE, but as far as the discussion is on public mailing lists and forums and indexed by Google, it doesn't go much beyond the depth of I tried the newest version and for me that worked.