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Linux Journal: Tux Knows It's Nice to Share, Part 1

Jan 21, 2001, 15:15 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Marcel Gagné)

"If you were to try and pick one (only one!) specific cool thing about Linux, you might have to say "networking". And I might just have to agree with you. Nothing networks like Linux and what is networking about, really, but sharing. Nice segueway, huh? Linux lets you share a single, dial-up (or cable) modem connection for all the PCs in your house. It lets you share printers. It also lets you do the kind of sharing that drove local area network development to the state that it's in today. That kind of sharing is "file sharing."

"Now, as flexible as Linux is, you'll soon discover that there are dozens of different ways to share files across a network. We can choose from NFS, SAMBA, CODA, AFS, and others. When all that fails, there's always sneaker net. Understanding what they do, how they do it, where they are now and where they are going is the first step in deciding what makes sense for you. So...I'd like to start this discussion with NFS, the great Grand Daddy (or Grand Mama--who knows for sure?) of network file sharing utilities. Born when the 80s were still young, this child of Sun Microsystems is ubiquitous on just about every Linux or UNIX distribution you can think of. NFS stands for "Network File System", and you can even get it for that other OS, which makes it an ideal first choice for exploration of file sharing."

"Like almosteverything in the world of Linux, NFS is still evolving, and different incarnations exist on different releases. Nevertheless, NFS has been around a long time, and while it has problems (which we will discuss later), it is a good, stable file-sharing mechanism and worth a look. On most machines, the Linux implementation of NFS is sitting around version 2. The version 3 NFS, which includes improved performance, better file locking and other goodies is still in development and requires that your kernel level be at 2.2.18 or higher (although there are patches for other levels). Curious about your kernel version?..."

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