I often use Windows as a terminal to my various UNIX systems. Sometimes its helpful to run proprietary software - and I don't have time/inclination to mess around with half-baked emulators/ports/binary blobs/whatevers under Linux. I either run a completely open system like OpenBSD or I run Windows. Anyway, I never use Windows to do any real work. I always shell into a remote system to actually get things done. Either PuTTY or - if you prefer real OpenSSH like me - OpenSSH via Cygwin/X work fine for getting a terminal. WinSCP or Cygwin's OpenSSH for scp(1) are good for file-transfer under most circumstances. However, one of the nice things about Windows is the Explorer shell. It - and its KDE knock-off - are useful for certain file management operations. Why not leverage it? So I started looking for a way to mount remote filesystems via SSH, so that they appear as native Windows volumes. And I found a way to do it, for free. Dokan user mode filesystem for Windows Dokan is basically FUSE for Windows. That's all dandy and there are plenty of useful FUSE filesystems out there, like this one which uses my BitTorrent implementation. Whats cool about Dokan is they also do an SSH FS implementation. Is it hard to set up I figured this thing was surely going to be a PITA and probably not work to boot. In fact, you just install three things - some Microsoft runtime library, the main Dokan library, and Dokan SSHFS - and there you go. There is simple GUI app to set up remote mounts that supports all the things you'd expect, saving sessions, both password and public key authentication. Does it actually work Yes, although it doesn't seem to support symlinks. A symlink to a directory on a remote system appears as a file under Dokan. So no $HOME/public_html for you - oh well. Final thoughts Its fun to look at your horribly un-organised UNIX home directory in Windows, and see just how messy it is. Almost makes me want to start cleaning things up. But then I remember I know how to use locate(1) and find(1).

Niall O'Higgins is an author and software developer. He wrote the O'Reilly book MongoDB and Python. He also develops Strider Open Source Continuous Deployment and offers full-stack consulting services at FrozenRidge.co.

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