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Just so I won’t forget it next time:
Took me some tcpdumping to figure this one out, but here’s the deal: If you’re missing the “Shared” sidebar in Leopard, it’s probably due to some sort of fancy-pants DNS cleverness from your provider or someone else, like OpenDNS. Fix it by doing this from the terminal:
$ sudo pico /etc/smb.conf
and add the following line to the [global] section:
name resolve order = lmhosts bcast wins
Save it, then disable and reenable file-sharing from the Network panel, checking “Advanced...” to make sure that SMB is enabled. After a minute or two, your Shared should be back in the sidebar.
Why does this happen? A local name is searched for via DNS first, and instead of returning a “host not found” and thus triggering the next stage of name resolution (lmhosts or bcast), the name is resolved into the address of the provider’s search machine, supposedly to make your life easier. But it doesn’t make your life easier, it breaks stuff like Samba. A name shouldn’t resolve if it doesn’t exist. There are methods for handling things like this, like the built-in “Host not found” pages of many web browsers.