TIP In OS X 10.5, Apple added the ability to share individual folders to the Sharing preference panel. However, one needs to be aware of permission problems when attempting to share a particular folder. This example illustrates this problem:

Create folder ABC in ~/Documents.

Press C-I and check the Shared Folder checkbox.

Click on the Enable button to enable file sharing.

Go to the Sharing panel in System Preferences and click on the File Sharing item.

Click on the Options button and enable SMB sharing by checking the Share Files and Folders using SMB checkbox (there is no need to enable SMB sharing of accounts, as we will see later).

By this step, you would expect to see folder ABC under your computer’s name in Network Neighbourhood in Windows, but it’s not there.

In fact, you can’t even access the share by mapping \computernameABC. However, if you move folder ABC to ~/Public and share it again by unchecking and then checking the Shared Folder checkbox, then ABC will become visible.

This behaviour can be explained by the fact that ~/Documents has the permission rwx------, which means other users can’t browse the contents of that folder. On the other hand, ~/Public has the permission rwxr-xr-x, which allows browsing of the folder content by any user. So in order to successfully share a folder, not only do you have to make sure it’s accessible to other users, you also have to make sure its parent folder can be browsed by other users.

Another interesting thing to note is that SMB sharing for a user account is independent of individual folder sharing.

Enabling it will share the home folder of the enabled account as it did in Tiger, but it’s not necessary for sharing individual folders (so you no longer have to store your password in a less secure way when you enable SMB sharing).