Overview

Many network servers deal with files in one form or another. Web servers deliver files to clients, which usually display them directly to their users. Mail servers send and receive files, which may be stored, forwarded, or delivered to users' mail readers. One of the most direct forms of file transfer, though, occurs in a class of servers known generically as file servers. This class of server can be thought of as consisting of two subclasses: file-transfer servers (which transfer files using special clients) and file sharing servers (in which the clients access files as if they were stored on local disks). This distinction is somewhat slippery, because the same protocol may be handled in different ways by different clients. The most common file-transfer protocol is known, quite descriptively, as the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). For a long time, it was the master of the Internet file transfer seas, and it remains popular for this purpose. (Many links from web pages for downloading large files lead to FTP sites.) Among file-sharing servers, two important protocols are the Network File System (NFS) and the Server Message Block/Common Internet File System (SMB/CIFS). NFS is a common file-sharing protocol between Unix and Unix-like systems, whereas SMB/CIFS is most popular on networks dominated by Wndows systems. Linux includes servers (and clients) for handling both protocolsā€”NFS through any of several NFS servers and SMB/CIFS through the Samba server.

Note Some file exchange protocols and servers are very complex. Samba, in particular, provides dozens of options to help it overcome cross-platform differences and integrate well with Windows systems. If you're setting up a Linux system to function as a Samba server, you may want to consult a book on the subject, such as my Linux Samba Server Administration (Sybex, 2001) orTs, Eckstein, and Collier-Brown's Using Samba, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly, 2003). (The first edition of the latter title comes with Samba in electronic form.) Erez Zadock's Linux NFS and Automounter Administration (Sybex, 2001) covers NFS in more detail than I can describe in this chapter. Some FTP servers are also very

This document was created by an unregistered ChmMagic, please go to http://www.bisenter.com to regist* complex, but books about them are uncommon.

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