What is Samba File Manager?


 
What is Samba?
How it works?
Security
What about NFS
Availability



What is Samba?
Samba File Manager is a client for the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. This protocol is currently used by all Microsoft's Windows family products, OS/2, Unix samba and some others. With this protocol computers can share files, printers and other type of information, for example lists of available resources.

SMB was born by Microsoft near 1987 and was developed further by Microsoft and others. Recently Microsoft has introduced CIFS - Common Internet File System protocol. At this moment it is just a "substitution" for SMB, or "formerly known" as SMB. In a few words, it's a protocol Windows NT 4.0 uses this time. On the another side, Microsoft provides that the CIFS protocol will be opened and available for all computers users. CIFS 1.0 specification was submitted to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) as an Internet draft document. This means, that SMB/CIFS protocol will be alive in the future for a long time.
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How it works?
SMB/CIFS is a client-server, request-response protocol. Clients connect to servers using transport level protocol, TCP/IP for example (or IPX/SPX). After the connection is established, the client can send commands, also known as SMB messages, to the server. The command set allows client to open files, read and write files, delete them, create directories and so on.

The unique feature of Samba File Manager is that it presents the remote file system as it is a local OS-9 file system. This allows an OS-9 user to mount and manipulate remote file system as a normal RBF-like one.
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Security
The SMB defines two models of security:
Share Level
Each resource introduced by a server can have a password, and a client only needs that password to access all files under that resource. This was the first security model SMB had. This model is currently used by Windows for Workgroups and Windows 95/98.
User Level
Protection is applied to each file in each resource and is based on user rights. The client is to be authenticated by a server (using an username and a password). After this is done, the client is given an User ID which it must use on all subsequent accesses to that server. This model is what Windows NT uses this time.
In addition, plain text passwords are never passed across the network. In this case, even using a network sniffer it is impossible to stolen user passwords.
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What about NFS
NFS was designed for file sharing in a Unix environment with security based on the client machines. SMB uses a different approach based on the server authentication. Even if the data is transferred unencrypted, passwords are transmitted encrypted. Also, if you must access Windows NT or other SMB based machines from your OS-9 box, you don't want to administer a second file sharing protocol or having to install new software on the server side.

SMB uses only one TCP port. In this case it can easily work through routers or firewalls. Also, it enables secure encrypted transport (using SSL - Secure Socket Layer) in the future implementations.
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Availability
You can find many and many server implementations: [Back to top]