Charles Dickens once referred to the past in these words: “
It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.
” The more we look back, the more we long for what was and
hope it never returns.
For many MS Windows network administrators, that statement sums up their feelings about
NetBIOS networking precisely. For those who mastered NetBIOS networking, its fickle
nature was just par for the course. For those who never quite managed to tame its
lusty features, NetBIOS is like Paterson's Curse.
For those not familiar with botanical problems in Australia, Paterson's Curse,
, was introduced to Australia from Europe during the mid-19th
century. Since then it has spread rapidly. The high seed production, with densities of
thousands of seeds per square meter, a seed longevity of more than 7 years, and an
ability to germinate at any time of year, given the right conditions, are some of the
features that make it such a persistent weed.
In this chapter we explore vital aspects of Server Message Block (SMB) networking with
a particular focus on SMB as implemented through running NetBIOS (Network Basic
Input/Output System) over TCP/IP. Since Samba does not implement SMB or NetBIOS over
any other protocols, we need to know how to configure our network environment and simply
remember to use nothing but TCP/IP on all our MS Windows network clients.
Samba provides the ability to implement a WINS (Windows Internetworking Name Server)
and implements extensions to Microsoft's implementation of WINS. These extensions
help Samba to effect stable WINS operations beyond the normal scope of MS WINS.
WINS is exclusively a service that applies only to those systems
that run NetBIOS over TCP/IP. MS Windows 200x/XP have the capacity to operate with
support for NetBIOS disabled, in which case WINS is of no relevance. Samba supports this also.
For those networks on which NetBIOS has been disabled (i.e., WINS is not required),
the use of DNS is necessary for hostname resolution.