Looking for an interoperability hook at the Red Hat RHEL5 party in San Francisco took me down two familiar paths as Paul Cormier, Red Hat vice president of engineering, said that virtualization via the guest OS and Samba were the mainstays of their virtually non-existent interop program.
During the post-announcement Q&A, I asked Cormier what hope there is for IT managers struggling day-to-day with Linux-Windows interoperability issues. He said:
“We’re looking at interoperability from the Samba perspective. It’s sort of there today, but not quite there, and what are we going to do about that? One of the things we did is get people from the Samba team to come over to Red Hat is the past few months. That team is working with our Directory team, you’ll see us do a lot more work on interoperability in the next few months. We’re going to make it so that there’s seamless interoperability between our Directory and Active Directory, and Samba will the linchpin for that. With our subscription model, you’ll see this support start to come in not two years from now but under the RHEL5 subscription soon. The reality is it’s heterogeneous environments out there. A lot of [interoperability will come] in the Samba space, and we’ve moving quickly down that path.”
So, folks, you can run Windows as a virtual machine on Linux or wait for Microsoft to offer SUSE Linux guest support. Other than that, it’s the same old interop story: Samba good old Samba is your closest and only friend.