We would not have thought that a control-freak like Jobs would have much liked the free-wheeling Open Source movement much, but Apple began bundling Samba with Mac OS X 10.2 to help its Mac users connect to Microsoft’s Windows file and network directory services.
Samba however has moved to the GPL 3 licence which is a little stricter and makes it a little too free for Jobs’ tastes. He has decided to remove the formerly bundled open source Samba software and replace it with Apple’s own tools for Windows file sharing and network directory services.
Developers have told Apple Insider that Jobs’ Mob has internally officially announced that it will pull Samba from Mac OS X Lion and Lion Server, and replace it with Windows networking software developed by Apple.
It will be dubbed SMBX, and supports Microsoft’s newer SMB2 version of its proprietary but openly published protocol, which was originally released in Windows Vista.
While this sounds ghastly, it is better than what Jobs’ Mob was using before. Samba only supported the original SMB1 and SBM2 is both faster and more efficient.
The new regime will allow Macs to both provide and access Windows-style file shares. However it will not support the NT Domain Controller features of Samba. These were a fairly strange quirk anyway as they relate to Microsoft’s 1990’s, NT-era directory service supported prior to Active Directory.
Some network managers still like to use NT Domain Controller configurations because it is a no brainer in comparison to Active Directory. However Jobs Mob is doing the right thing here and telling them to pull finger and move into the 21st century.
Getting rid of Samba will also mean that the Macs can actually work better around modern PCs that run Windows 7. Windows 7 had some security changes in how encryption protocols work which were impossible under Samba.