Name resolution is critical to Samba’s operation because names are used to find the servers that share files or printers. Browsing takes the task of finding servers to a new level of sophistication by allowing a user to delve down into a hierarchy of networks, domains, hosts, and services offered by each server.
While name resolution and browsing are not difficult to configure, some complexity is introduced by the variety of available name-resolution systems. Historically, Unix and other TCP/IP users have moved from a flat hosts file to the Domain Name System, with the Network Information System being another popular choice. Meanwhile, Microsoft has moved from a broadcasting system to a simple, LAN-only name server called WINS and ultimately to DNS.
The reason for going over that history is that all previous systems of name resolution are still in use today! Finding a host is so crucial to networking that sites want robust (if limited) name-resolution systems to fall back on in case the main system fails. Browsing is also complicated by the frequent need to show hosts in other subnets. This chapter shows you how to configure your network to handle name resolution and browsing any way you want.
Some of the differences between Unix and Microsoft networking implementations are the result of fundamental design goals. Unix networking was originally designed largely to implement a relatively formal group of systems that were assumed to be small in ...