Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

I Hate Web Folders

I tried to set up a DAV fileshare for some family members to share pictures. I thought it would be clever and easy. Gallery? Can't be as easy as drag-and-drop. And I'd use my indexer (enhanced some) to make the pictures pleasantly viewable through the web. Slick and easy? I didn't want to make the root of the system a DAV share, so I made /share into a DAV share of the root, with:

Alias /share /home/family-site/htdocs
<Location /share>
    DAV On
    AllowOverride None
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
    AuthName "Secure Murphy Site"
    AuthType Basic
    AuthUserFile "/home/family-site/users.auth"
    <LimitExcept GET HEAD OPTIONS>
        require user family

But no. For the life of me, I couldn't get the Windows XP people to connect to the server. (Windows 2000 worked fine.) Then I do some googling, and fine that XP authentication is stupid, and sends usernames like family-site.com\family instead of just murphy. OK... I follow the instructions, and added a few things:

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
    Header add MS-Author-Via "DAV"
<IfModule mod_encoding.c>
    EncodingEngine on
    NormalizeUsername on

But just to be extra sure I add all the usernames to the users.auth file -- family, family@family-site.com, and family-site.com\family. And damn, it still doesn't work (though it's hard to tell when debugging over the phone). Now I know why People In The Know know that Web Folders Suck.

Created 10 Jan '05


I set up a WebDAV folder today to share files in a small office. I had the opposite problem, windows worked fine but linux and OSX would only mount the folder as read-only. Turns out doing autoversioning - putting the whole folder under Subversion (saving a file creates a new revision) was the problem. OSX & Linux want to lock the file but notice apache 2.0 doesn't support LOCK, WindowsXP just writes away. The 2.1/alpha version of Apache has a fix for this, but I haven't tried it yet (I just made a stab at it today).

Autoversioning is the killer feature for me, the other people would/could not use subversion even if they knew what it was. They do like the idea of viewing old versions of files, especially "for free." So I'll be giving Apache 2.1 a try Real Soon Now.

# Jack Diederich

I ran into this problem just yesterday. Instead of configuring the server to work around XP's stupidity, I stumbled across a way to "trick" XP into doing the right thing by including the port number in the URL. So, instead of entering http://family-site.com/share as the address, I would enter http://family-site.com:80/share.

I don't know why it works but it does. At least it started working for me once I did that.

# Jason Diamond

Hey Jason, I just love you. I was trying around for hours - and your trick did it. Thanks a lot. I wonder whether it has to do with accessing a samba share on the same server at the same time? .r.
# anonymous

Just to echo the last anonymous sentiment. Thanks a bunch. I've been pratting about for hours trying to get XP to behave and the port number thing fixed it a trick. Probably works as the full format of a URI includes username, password and port number in the same string, so putting the port number in completes all the values passed to the server?
# Grant Walters

Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why is Microsoft torturing us? I have been working on this for hours until I came across your page.



# Donna

Use Novell NetDrive (free) - it's a much better WebDAV client than web folders.

Also, SVN implements autoversioning, but you have to explicitly enable it.

# anonymous

After some days of trying to get this to work I wrote a summary about the problem at http://ulihansen.kicks-ass.net/aero/webdav. Listed six possible solutions on the client and the server-side. Additional ideas are welcome.

# Ulrich Hansen