Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Sep 2010 22:41 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Windows "I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Windows 7 shipped around the same time I got married, and it includes a fascinating new technology called HomeGroup. Its goal is really simple: get all your home computers sharing documents, media, and printers with each other, in a way that is both secure and straightforward. But Microsoft also has a deeper aim here: they're trying to finally kill off the decrepit NetBIOS technology that's at the heart of most Windows sharing problems. So let's have a look at HomeGroup and the technologies involved that make it work. And just to keep things interesting, we'll compare HomeGroup with what Mac OS X offers."
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What about the non-homegroup stuff.
by Kasi on Thu 23rd Sep 2010 03:47 UTC
Member since:

If you have a heterogeneous network with Windows 7 machines, some XP machines, and a few Ubuntu boxes what happens?

Do the windows 7 machines share to each other using homegroup over IPv6, and then simultaneously communicate with the rest using CIFS over IPv4? Or do they default to just network topology using CIFS over IPv4?

Reply Score: 1

Tuishimi Member since:

I don't know, but even as I type I am connected to my wife's Macbook, my son's iMac and myself LOL!


The laugh was because I show up on my own network list... I always thought that was funny... but I suppose if you are a multi-user machine that is a useful thing.

Edited 2010-09-23 04:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Drumhellar Member since:

The non-Windows 7 machines can access stuff shared with the home group, I believe.

They just need to connect with the HomeGroupUser$ user, and the homegroup password as the account password. I believe this can be done over IPv4, as only the ease-of-use features of Homegroups require IPv6.

At least, that's what I got out of the article. That's something I'll have to try out tomorrow. It's kinda late to do it now.

Reply Score: 2

aargh Member since:

I haven't used HomeGroup yet but I don't see why you would need to communiate with Ubuntu via IPv4. Ubuntu supports IPv6 link-local addresses out of the box via Avahi and Samba also listens on all interfaces including IPv6 by default.

Also, the article answers your question in "File Sharing", third paragraph.

Reply Score: 2

by Neolander on Thu 23rd Sep 2010 06:44 UTC
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Apart from the claimed technical greatness of the product, I still think that networking is a mess, especially on Windows.

Why do you see users who are not logged in on the network on windows 7 ? Makes you think that there's a trojan arround or something.
Why does the firewall warning show up *behind* the application who started it, making it possible to try to play a game for 15 min before understanding that the firewall blocked you when giving up and closing it.
Why can't we just connect two computers with a wire (or more with a hub), wait a bit, then start doing stuff as a network ? Why doesn't windows include that wonder called a DHCP server, making ad-hoc wifi networking and such simple connections much more complicated than they should be ? Why should a mostly unreliable and hard-to-service HW router become a mandatory component of a computer network for people who are not networking specialists ?
Why is wifi so crappy while GSM towers work just fine ?
Why is it that when people join a network, there's a high chance that some can't ping the others or can't see games on LAN, making think that the network itself is defective ? Why does it depend on the machine you consider ? Why do you have to go through several security warnings before you can do something useful on the network ?

Paranoid security rendering things messy and reducing usability. Low reliability. Intuitivity close to zero. Running on top of crappy wireless networks. This is the state of networking as of today. HomeGroup's philosophy is to add up a layer on top of this crap and make solving some specific problems easier. What about fixing the crap underneath instead and make every task of a computer network work properly, instead of just printer/music/video sharing and only provided that you entered an obfuscated password given by some sysadmin wannabe first ?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Complexity
by Drumhellar on Thu 23rd Sep 2010 09:14 UTC in reply to "Complexity"
Drumhellar Member since:

It sounds like you're speaking from the perspective of someone that thinks all aspects of networking should be immediately self-apparent, or that ease of use for the un-informed should trump security, reliability, consistency, and manageability.

Networking can be difficult for people that can't be bothered to take the time to learn a little bit, but it is quite simple and extremely useful to those who do take the time to understand a little bit about how it works.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Thu 23rd Sep 2010 07:09 UTC
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Only in Vista is DHCP a three hour job.

Reply Score: 3

by telns on Thu 23rd Sep 2010 18:21 UTC
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The only downside I can see is that I've encountered at least three laptops that needed IPv6 disabled on the wireless adapter for it to connect reliably to the wireless network.

These were different laptops, I believe different wireless adapters in all three, and definitely different wireless networks.

I'm not sure why that is. Certainly not all laptops have those problems. One of them I know, worked fine with IPv6 turned on in my wireless network, but broke whenever it tried to use another network. Undoubtedly it shouldn't be that way... But, for HomeGroup to reach its full potential you need IPv6, and at least in my experience, wireless adapters and IPv6 don't always play nice in Vista and W7.

Edited 2010-09-23 18:22 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: IPv6
by Neolander on Thu 23rd Sep 2010 18:50 UTC in reply to "IPv6"
Neolander Member since:

Not only on Windows. I also had some issues with my ISP-provided router when using computers running linux. On some machines, DNS resolving when connected through it takes 30s, unless you disable either IPv6 or DHCP.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: IPv6
by bert64 on Fri 24th Sep 2010 11:54 UTC in reply to "RE: IPv6"
bert64 Member since:

This simply shouldn't happen.. IPv6 when enabled should remain dormant until a device on the network advertises a route to it (ipv6 router advertisement)...
If you're having problems, chances are some device on your network is advertising a bogus ipv6 route which your system is trying to use... This is analogous to having a rogue dhcp server which is connecting you to an isolated network.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: IPv6
by Neolander on Fri 24th Sep 2010 12:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: IPv6"
Neolander Member since:

You could well be right, especially considering that this a cheap modem/router that my ISP rents for €3/month, and that when I acquired it IPv6 was even more of a thing for nerds than it is now.

However, the parent poster experienced such issue on several networks+lappy combinations, so it seems that there are many buggy IPv6 devices in the wild.

And the most interesting is probably that the thing is OS-dependent in a non-trivial fashion : on my previous computer, DHCP+IPv6 was okay on various Linux distros but led to the 30s delay on Windows XP. But on my brother's laptop, the reverse phenomenon occurs : network is buggy on most linux distros but okay on WinXP.

Well, that's the joy of computer networking...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: IPv6
by telns on Fri 24th Sep 2010 21:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: IPv6"
telns Member since:

In the cases I saw, the symptoms were a bit different. The machine would connect to the wireless network, and operate fine for a few minutes, and then trail off and stop working. Sometimes reconnecting would work, but more often than not it would be unable to get an IP when it tried to reconnect.

In one instance I know that the only other device on the whole network was the wireless router itself, and it understood IPv4 exclusively. The laptop still had trouble until IPv6 was turned off on the wireless NIC. The laptop worked fine here before that though. Who knows...

Edited 2010-09-24 21:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

by Soulbender on Fri 24th Sep 2010 18:41 UTC
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I'm not a Windows user but anything that makes the abomination knows as NetBIOS go away is surely a good thing.
It's also nice to see IPv6 get used.

Reply Score: 3

no need for machine list
by xaeropower on Sat 25th Sep 2010 02:01 UTC
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I remember how much time I spent on figuring out samba 5 years ago, how the master browser/backup browser selection works and how to make stable name resolution on samba networks (dns+wins+pdc).

But with smb/cifs the best way always was to completely ignore the workgroup/domain machine list and manually mount the drives with batch files on the machines using their ip address like //

I dunno why do they need ipv6 for this homegroup thingy, probably because of automatization but this feature will only benefit for joe users who have no idea what ip address is.

I don't think I will ever bother looking at this feature if I don't specifically asked to do so.

Reply Score: 1