My brother and I have been working on a project together recently and it became apparent that we could benefit from having a place to share some audio and video files with eachother. I have an OpenBSD server co-located at a local ISP and I thought “why not use that?”
I started out by making user accounts and home directories for both of us with useradd:
useradd -m me useradd -m him
I also set a password for each account so security wouldn't complain about them being partly-closed, though I planned to use ssh keys for logging in.
Then I created a group that we could each be a member of and which could own the shared directory. For this I used groupadd. I specified the group ID to be up out of the way of the groups that are automatically created for each user, but this was not strictly necessary.
groupadd -g 10000 ourgroup
To make each of us members of the group, I ran usermod:
usermod -G ourgroup me usermod -G ourgroup him
I thought I would like to put our shared folder at
hier does not indicate a place set
aside for files shared among members of a group. This is fine since it only
claims to the filesystem hierarchy that ships with the system. I think using
/g for files shared among members of a group is (or at least was) a
common practice, perhaps paralleling the once-upon-a-time placement of user home
/u. In any event, I started by creating the
mkdir -p /g/ourgroup.
When I originally set up the server, I let the OpenBSD installation program automatically lay out the partitions on the main disk array. It was able to provide generous partitions for var and home while still leaving almost half of the array unallocated, so I had some space available for this project. I used disklabel to add a new partition of 200GB:
host# disklabel -E sd0 Label editor (enter '?' for help at any prompt) sd0> a l offset:  size:  400000000 FS type: [4.2BSD] sd0*> p OpenBSD area: 64-2341987830; size: 2341987766; free: 823856782 # size offset fstype [fsize bsize cpg] a: 2097152 64 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # / b: 134683592 2097216 swap # none c: 2341994496 0 unused d: 8388576 136780832 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # /tmp e: 276707200 145169408 4.2BSD 4096 32768 26062 # /var f: 6291456 421876608 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # /usr g: 2097152 428168064 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # /usr/X11R6 h: 41943040 430265216 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # /usr/local i: 4194304 472208256 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # /usr/src j: 12582912 476402560 4.2BSD 2048 16384 12958 # /usr/obj k: 629145600 488985472 4.2BSD 4096 32768 26062 # /home l: 400000000 1118131072 4.2BSD 4096 32768 1 sd0*> w sd0> q No label changes.
With the partition created, I ran
newfs sd0l to construct a
new file system on it. Then I was ready to add it to
with a line like
[DUID].l /g/ourgroup ffs rw,nodev,nosuid 1 2.
Finally, I was able to mount the new file system with
When a file system is mounted to a mount point, the path refers to the mounted vnode rather than the vnode of the mount point (see, for example, vfs_lookup() in src/sys/kern/vfs_lookup.c), so getting or setting ownership or permissions on this path updates the mounted vnode (root inode of the new file system in this case). So now that the new file system was mounted, it was time to change its group and make it writable by group members:
chgrp ourgroup /g/ourgroup chmod g+w /g/ourgroup
My brother and I both use Transmit 5 to move files around. I performed the same setup steps on each of our workstations.
I started out by going to the Keys tab of Preferences and creating a new key.
I took the option to copy the new public key to the clipboard and appended it to
~/.ssh/authorized_keys on the server (using the root account to
su to the respective user account first).
Next, I added an SFTP server in Transmit. I set the server title (or
nickname), address, and user name. Instead of a password, I selected the new key
I had just created. For convenience, I set the remote path to
Back in Preferences, I found I could set “Windows open with” to have Transmit connect to and bring up the server in the right pane automatically when the program starts. I was also able to drag a couple of common locations on the server (like my home directory and the shared directory) into the locations bar on the server side of the window for easy access. We move some larger files around, so I found it handy to turn on the progress bar at the bottom of the window. That option was in the View menu.
We're now happily sharing our files back and forth, using old-school tech with a modern twist. I hope that you found this helpful. If this is the kind of thing you're into, you may enjoy my other articles. If you have any questions or comments, please drop me a line at the address below.Aaron D. Parks