IN THIS CHAPTER
Setting up an NFS file server in Linux
Setting up a Samba file server in Linux
Most networked computers are on the network in the first place so that users can share information. Some users need to collectively edit documents for a project, share access to spreadsheets and forms used in the daily operation of a company, or perform any number of similar file-sharing activities. It also can be efficient for groups of people on a computer network to share common applications and directories of information needed to do their jobs. By far the best way to accomplish the centralized sharing of data is through a file server.
A centralized file server can be backed up, preserving all stored data in one fell swoop. It can focus on the tasks of getting files to end users, rather than running user applications that can use client resources. And a centralized file server can be used to control access to information—security settings can dictate who can access what.
Linux systems include support for each of the most common file server protocols in use today. Among the most common file server types in use today are the Network File System (NFS), which has always been the file-sharing protocol of choice for Linux and other UNIX systems, and Samba (SMB protocol), which is often used by networks with many Windows and OS/2 computers.