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developerWorks: Interview: Taking Samba beyond POSIX

Apr 17, 2003, 22:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robert McMillan)
If you were lucky enough to attend the Samba eXPerience conference in Göttingen, Germany, you may have caught Samba creator Andrew Tridgell's talk on 'Exotic Filesystem Backends.'

"And what exactly does Tridge have to say about exotic filesystem backends? It turns out that since being hired by IBM's Almaden Research Center in January of this year, the Australian hacker has been working on pushing Samba beyond the POSIX world and figuring out what work needs to be done to get Samba to support new filesystems such as XFS, ext3, and Storage Tank. The answer is nothing less than a complete rewrite of Samba's smbd code, which has become his latest pet project.

"developerWorks: What kind of work are you doing at IBM?

"Tridgell: I wasn't hired as just a Samba person. In fact, I joined the Almaden Research Labs, which are looking a bit further out than just a product around the corner. My job description isn't just Samba stuff, although at the moment the particular research project that I'm working on is a network-attached storage project, where we're looking at next-generation NAS solutions and integrating that with some of the exotic filesystems that IBM's developing. It's quite interesting work, and it gives me the opportunity to do work that's a bit longer term. While I was at Quantum and at VA [Tridgell's two previous employers --ed.], I was constantly running across limitations in the core structure of Samba. In order to ship products on a three- or four-month type time scale, we really just had to have workarounds for those core limitations, and it meant we had to have some poor compromises, particularly in the area of NT Access Control Lists [ACLs] and lack of support for things like file streams, or some compromises in the area of user and group management. They were just pragmatic compromises, because we didn't have the luxury to really say, 'Well, let's rewrite all of Samba...'"

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