John Blair, author of this introductory article, is also the author of the best-selling book Samba: Integrating UNIX and Windows.
“The whole point of networking is to allow computers to easily share information. Sharing information with other Linux boxes, or any UNIX host, is easy–tools such as FTP and NFS are readily available and frequently set up easily “out of the box”. Unfortunately, even the most die-hard Linux fanatic has to admit the operating system most of the PCs in the world are running is one of the various types of Windows. Unless you use your Linux box in a particularly isolated environment, you will almost certainly need to exchange information with machines running Windows. Assuming you’re not planning on moving all of your files using floppy disks, the tool you need is Samba.”
“Samba is a suite of programs that gives your Linux box the ability to speak SMB (Server Message Block). SMB is the protocol used to implement file sharing and printer services between computers running OS/2, Windows NT, Windows 95 and Windows for Workgroups.”
Read Introducing Samba.