146 7.1 Infrastructure Services
A major difference between open source and Windows in this area is
that Linux is usually the operating system of dedicated appliances. Security
is actually the most common single use of Linux in the enterprise, and this
is mostly in appliances. Appliance vendors prefer Linux (or FreeBSD) for
They pay no licensing fees.
They can tune the system precisely for their needs.
As a result, these appliances are inexpensive because of the custom foot-
print and low license fee. Linux networking appliances are also generally
very fast. Linux (along with FreeBSD) is generally recognized to have the
fastest networking stack, and the code can be further tuned for particular
dedicated purposes. Microsoft offers support for appliances also but usu-
ally prefers a more integrated approach, where Windows systems run a mix
of services on a larger server.
7.1.1 File and Print Services
In a mixed environment, we will generally use Samba for ﬁle and print ser-
vices. Linux systems also support ﬁle sharing very efﬁciently and easily using
NFS and FTP, and this is a good choice in existing UNIX environments.
Another choice is the Novell iFolders technology, which was recently open
sourced. Given the current distribution of servers and clients, most organiza-
tions are currently using Windows networking, and adopting Samba will be
the simplest choice.
Samba allows non-Windows systems to share ﬁle and print services
with Windows systems. Samba clients function like Windows clients, but
for Linux, Mac, or other operating systems, so they see ﬁle shares and
printers published by Windows or Samba servers. Samba servers function
like Windows servers, but on Linux or other systems, so they can publish
ﬁle and printer shares and also authenticate users in a way similar to a
Windows server. The current version of Samba can authenticate by acting
as a Windows NT primary or backup domain controller, by accessing
Windows NT domain controllers, or by accessing the Windows 2000
Samba is an efﬁcient program and scales well. Companies such as Bank
of America and Hewlett-Packard use Samba to support many thousands of
clients. The program, written by Andrew Trumbull while at SGI, is an