File sharing is the foundation application of departmental networks. Linux servers make excellent platforms for file servers—Linux is fast and very stable, and it provides a wider choice of file services than most other server operating systems.
Files are commonly shared in three different ways:
• Through direct login. Users wanting to share files can directly log in to a Linux server, regardless of the capability of their desktop systems. Files can then be shared using the Linux filesystem.
• Through Network File System. NFS is the leading file-sharing protocol of Unix systems. Linux systems come with a full range of NFS server and client software.
• Through Server Message Block protocols. SMB is the file-sharing protocol used by Microsoft Windows systems. A Linux system can act as an SMB server or client to share files with Microsoft Windows systems.
In the next chapter, we configure Linux as a departmental print server. Again, you will see that Linux has the capability to integrate both Unix and Windows clients on a single network.
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