Summary: WEB-NFS

From: Dan Penrod (
Date: Mon Mar 30 1998 - 09:34:16 CST

Hey Managers:

Bad news regarding WebNFS... It doesn't seem to be at all close
to being ready for prime time. Here's what I learned about WebNFS.

WebNFS is built into the NFS Server services of Solaris 2.6. All
that's required to serve a WebNFS file system is a line in the
/etc/dfs/dfstab file, much like standard NFS. The use of the 'public'
option should be used. A sample share might look like this...

    share -F nfs -o public -d "Usr Partition" /usr

The problem with WebNFS is that there doesn't appear to be any
available client support. Sun's HotJava browser is supposed to support
WebNFS, but basically... it doesn't. If you've installed Solaris 2.6 you
probably already have HotJava 1.0 installed (although you may not
realize it) at /usr/dt/bin/hotjava. Try that browser and you may or
may not have any luck. To mount an WebNFS partition with your
HotJava browser simply use a URL syntax like this...


When I tried this it appeared to mount my /usr partition but would
not show me any files or diretories in, below, or above /usr. When I
tried to mount directly below (nfs://myhost/usr/home/penrod) the
system panicked to prom level!!!

So basically, I couldn't get it to do anything more useful than reboot
my system. (Although [stop]-A is still faster ;-)

I downloaded the most recent version of HotJava from (v 1.1.2). When I attempt a WebNFS mount using
the new HotJava it complains "Bad URL Syntax" and directs me
to the on-line documentation. The documentation clearly states
the 7 protocols it supports; http:, https:, file:, ftp:, gopher:, mailto:,
and doc. Wait a minute... where's nfs:?!?!?! Apparently Sun has
quietly dropped all client support! I can't imagine what good a
client-server technology is where there is no available client.

A number people replied...

Derrick Allen <> - Also looking for WebNFS info.

"Jared Perkins" <> - No current support from
Microsquish or Netscape. Netscape reported to be working on a version
of WebNFS support that requires a WebNFS proxy server.

Matthew Stier <> - Offered advice
on finding the packages on the CD. (Celeste Stokely) - Pointed out that some
documentation could be found searching when searching
on nfs AND web. Here's a URL I came up with based on that advice...

"K.Ravi" <> -
Described the server share syntax to me. He pointed out that it could be
useful to share files from a machine not running a web server but that
support is very limited. He points out that a syntax like

    file:/net/<server name>/<file name>

...would accomplish the same thing without webnfs. Of course that's only
true if your client can utilize the /net automouter nfs feature (which your
PC probably can't).

I submit that you'd basically get the same functionality, using any
client or browser if you simply used the ftp protocol since all Sun's
already serve ftp and all clients (browsers) already support ftp. (Anthony Worrall) -
Directed me to the man page of share_nfs. Unfortunately that
man page never even uses the word "web". Anthony points
out that the only client support for WebNFS is the JAVA API,
so I guess you can roll your own. But if Sun's HotJAVA has
abandoned support for it betwen v1.0 and v1.1.2... why would I
think I could do a better job? :-(

So there you have it. Sun's Hoopla concerning the new WebNFS
support of Solaris 2.6 is basically an empty promise.
If anyone has any SUNSHINE to add to this gloom I'd love to hear
from you.

Thanks to my replyers and the entire list for just being cool.


Dan Penrod wrote:

> Hey Managers: > > Where do I get Web-NFS? I recall hearing a lot of hoopla about it being > a feature of Solaris 2.6 but now that I've installed it I'm not seeing > any mention of it in the documentation or on the CD install media. I > check and didn't find any mention there either. Is > it on the Solaris 2.6 distribution CDs? Which CD? Is it part of the > Sun Web Server package? > > Anyone out there using it? Is it really good for something? Feedback? > Mainly I'm wondering if it's a good multi-platform remote file sharing > solution... maybe good for telecommuters? > > Thanks, > dan > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > Dan Penrod <> > System Admin > Paradyne Corporation > > Dan Penrod > System Admin <> > Paradyne Corporation HTML Mail > 8545 126th Ave. N. Work: 813/530-8597 > Largo Fax: 813/532-5517 > FL Netscape Conference Address > 33779 Netscape Conference DLS Server > USA > Additional Information: > Last Name Penrod > First Name Dan > Version 2.1

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