Enterprise Linux Log

Mar 14 2007   7:47PM GMT

Linux-Windows interoperability: Virtualization, Samba and zilch


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.

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  • Larry T
    It's very disheartening to see that RedHat's only strategy is to cannibalize the open source teams like SAMBA rather than growing its talent and having a healthy support relationship with the open source group instead. Perhaps RedHat isn't the only bad guy. SAMBA itself has some participants and book publishers, but not all, that want to abandon the charter goal to provide the best of file-, print- and authentication sharing without having NT domains or being slave to Microsoft servers. SAMBA team members recently was quoted in blogs, etc where they are adamant that SAMBA file and print shares authenticating to Active Directory servers instead of an open source equivalent is thier goal, and that interoperability was OpenLDAP and the other directory service apporach problem. Interoperability, for companies that want to standardize on Windows XP Pro SP2 or later version of Windows with Office and Outlook are finding that the open source "pricing argument" calls apart way too quickly when you want features like seamless Global Address Books. Part of this gap that neither Sendmail.Com or anyone else cares to address is because sendmail started out where group lists (AKA aliases) were meant to hide who was in the group. Global Address Lists (GAL) on Exchange servers take a different approach, where you can expand the group, copy/rename the group and then on your own group, just keep the persons you want. No matter how you take the best of Open Source, (SAMBA, OpenLDAP, Sendmail, etc), it's very difficult to get interoperability when the charter organizations sometimes get funding from HP, IBM, Novell, Redhat and on alternative days Of course, no one should complain when Centeris or other ventures pop up started by those that spent their time in the trenches (Andy/Samba, etc) -- the hope is just that the sponsors continue to make it feasible for their own engineers to help at the core open source (and new) development teams. We can't rely on just universities or just people outside the US to handle these projects either. I'll not get on the soapbox about whether like global warming there is some man-made cause such as American companies outsourcing everything and hence destroying the desire for anyone in the US to pursue computer science degrees. I was lucky enough to see Project Athena, the original .au Samba project, X Windows, Kerberos, etc. all take off and take hold. I was lucky enough to have my two CompSci degrees and glad to help thousands of others obtain careers in software engineering, information sciences, game theory/implementaton, operations, database/data warehouse, etc. So, interoperability in this century will take more money and thought than Google and Microsoft's greed will allow and Red hat's recent VP statement is no longer shocking. That is was publicly made is no longer shocking. Perhaps man-made reality TV should look at the dirty jobs and unrewarding jobs of open source developers after all.
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