SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects

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Appletalk was not proprietary. It was just first. Apple published a lovely hardback book with full details of the protocol stack. I used it to write my own Appletalk/Ethertalk implementation for a line of color printers.


Correct me if I’m wrong but while Appletalk itself was not propietary it depended on the RS432 hardware which was itself propietary?

Microsoft is currently trying to transition away from SMB. Every few months, I have to go in and switch it back on my Windows PC as an update “forgets” my settings. I’m not sure what their replacement is, other than OneDrive and cloud. (Which isn’t really a solution, especially with my SAMBA boxes.)

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Turns it off, or just turns off support for older protocols?

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Definitely the older protocols, which do have security issues (that’s my call, not Microsoft’s), but I think the last clean install had all of it switched off by default.

Probably worth noting that by 2007 Microsoft changed tactics (or at least, part of MS did, as an organisation it’s notorious for having different departments working at cross purposes), and gave the Samba team access to the source code and protocol spec for SMB.
So these days Samba is fully compatible with modern Windows, and can even be used as an Open source Domain Controller. (In fact, Microsoft have even submitted code to the Samba project).

They’re trying to move away from SMB version 1, because it is old, broken, and very insecure. Fortunately, what with Samba’s support for v2 and 3, there’s no reason to keep using SMBv1. Whatever you’re still using SMBv1 for, you should find a way to replace it. Don’t believe me? Here’s the guy who invented SMB/CIFS begging you to disable it.
Seriously, it’s junk, switch it off or completely airgap that network.


That hardware was a standard Zilog Z8530 SCC chip. We had no trouble implementing Appletalk(Localtalk) with a different SCC.

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Somehow we have to steer the conversation back to the health of a field rather than of individual companies being good for mankind. It’s far too easy for our psychology to fall prey to the fascist instinct to delight and feel a vicarious rush from seeing something grow large and dominant. It doesn’t help that the story of a brand is much easier to tell as a compelling narrative than a landscape view. The Goliath story cuts against this for individual cases, but it is still difficult to tell the story of what makes a healthy market/ecosystem/field without getting so attached to individual players that they just become the next personification of the field. It felt like we were making progress at a certain point talking about the power of cooperation, and what kinds of tools, both mental and physical encourage and enable common good projects, but…something…happened. Maybe I just graduated from elementary school.


The Big Tech companies have gotten too big and too politically powerful; it’s the natural evolution of unregulated capitalism. The answer isn’t mysterious (Break Them Up), it’s just a heavy lift because of the number of congresscritters that have been purchased.

There’s one presidential candidate that has been criticizing unfettered capitalism for decades; I think it’s pretty obvious which one it is. Let’s get him in there and make him the tip of the spear of a movement to fix these things.


Probably worth noting that by 2007 Microsoft changed tactics …
and gave the Samba team access to the source code and protocol spec for SMB.

That’s not true. Samba has never had access to Microsoft source code (we’ve never needed it). The protocol specs sure do come in handy though (and we help make sure they’re accurate and up to date).

Not to be too hard on my friends at Microsoft (we get on famously these days and they employ Samba Team members) but it was probably the EU Anti-trust result that caused the tactics change (as well as the stirling work by Sam Ramji, who was the first Microsoft executive to turn up at the SambaXP conference).


I recognized Andrew Tridgell from having interacted with him a little bit on the open-source ArduPilot project. Tridge is great; I didn’t realize he was so crucial to early SAMBA networking. (And here I am proud of myself for having posted the occasional GitHub PR patch. :))

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Sure is, and I’ll do that as soon as I no longer need access to my XP netbook as a Plan B when Windows 10 goes off the rails. (Most recently to write Raspbian images to SD cards when the Win10 USB driver went pants.) Everything else is SMBv3. The router firewall blocks outside SMBv1 packets.


Well, I’ll bow to one who knows. Thanks for setting me right.


In 2011, with Mac OS X Lion, Apple replaced SAMBA with their own SMB2 stack, and it is now the preferred/only method of sharing files over a network for macOS machines, replacing AFP (Apple Filing Protocol), which has its origins in the dawn of time with AppleTalk (and which still worked beautifully in OS X, but the Powers That Be decided to deprecate it, with extreme prejudice). Just be grateful that the world coalesced around SMB and not NFS.


In 2011, with Mac OS X Lion, Apple replaced SAMBA with their own SMB2 stack

Yes, but that was for religious not technical reasons :-). Apple really couldn’t stomach GPLv3, and indeed are now moving away from even GPLv2. GPL and Apple don’t really mix.


Posts like this are why I love hanging out in these forums.

Usually there is someone super-knowledgable on the topic who weighs in. It is civil enough here, it is sometimes people mentioned in the linked article.

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Microsoft didn’t have a network stack that interoperated with Macs! Those monsters!

Apple didn’t have a network stack that interoperated with Windows? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Networking during this time was a shit show no matter what kind of device you had. It was easier to just sneakernet, which generally worked fine across platforms. Macs were actually a much bigger pain in the ass because their special file formats basically didn’t work on anything else non-Mac and needed special conversion.

Thankfully everybody has evolved since then.

On the Tech Refactor side, fave talking unicorn had a thing to say in
actual title “Using the Wrong Tools to…” etc.

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I recently installed OpenMediaVault for the first time. I recommend it! This is a great way to manage filesystems and run SAMBA on them.

We’ve made it so that nobody can accomplish anything without a fairly fast broadband internet connection, something that is still not available in much of the US, let alone other places. Maybe reevaluate your use of “everybody,” there?