Samba's Latest Moves

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Samba is one of the pillars of the open source world, so it's always good to see it dancing on with new releases. Here's one of the major new features in 3.2:

Samba 3.2, in conjunction with the ctdb (http://ctdb.samba.org) libraries and a back-end distributed file system such as Sun's Lustre, IBM's GPFS or Red Hat's GFS, can provide a fully clustered file server solution. Every node is able to simultaneously serve an identical, consistent view of the exported file system. Not just a simple "fail-over" high availability solution, Samba 3.2 with ctdb provides a scalable clustered file server solution with full Windows file sharing semantics. Samba and ctdb are already being shipped in production file serving products to some of the most demanding customers in the world in fields such as animation and video production.

But alongside such high-end goodness, there are other aspects to the new release:

Samba 3.2 has been designed and tested to integrate with the latest Microsoft Windows clients and servers, such as Windows Vista service pack 1, and Windows server 2008.

That's a particularly pregnant statement bearing in mind that Samba obtained full protocol details following the European Commission's settlement with Microsoft last year. So I asked Jeremy Allison, one of the top Samba hackers, just how complete that documentation was, and how useful; here's what he replied:

we have all that has been released. It's not yet complete or completely accurate, but it's much better than what was previously available and we're submitting bug reports on the documents to Microsoft and they are responding (even if sometimes slower than we'd like :-).

This seems to augur well for the future, and suggests that slowly Microsoft is being prodded into helping rather than hindering true interoperability.