Samba represents a way for non-Linux computers to access shared directories on Linux computers. Of course, when we say “non-Linux” computers, we’re mainly talking about computers that are running some form of the Windows operating system. A Samba client is also available for Linux, which means that you can use Samba to replace the Network File System.
Microsoft developed CIFS and built it upon the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. SMB was developed by IBM, Intel and Microsoft in the 1980s. Samba developers, working under Andrew Tridgell, have worked on created a stable, fast and secure file and print system that works with SMB. The Microsoft development of SMB is also known as NetBIOS. The goal of the Samba project is to provide 4 basic features:
1.Provide file access to Windows machines on Linux Servers
2.Provide file access to Linux machines on Windows machines
3.Provide printer access to Windows machines on Linux Servers
4.Provide access to printers connected to Windows machines
Ideally, when you design your Samba network, the end result should be completely transparent to the end-users. They should be able to log on, and just have things work for them. Still though, you want to involve the end-users in the design process, in order to find out what features they most need, and what level of complexity that they can handle. Before going live with the new network, be sure to hold training so that the users will know about the new features, and about what shared resources that they’ll be able to access.