Available since version 3.11 of Microsoft Windows, printer and file sharing are two of Window’s most useful features. For example, outfitting each computer in a large office with a laser printer would be quite expensive. But printer sharing lets you reduce the cost of providing every user with printing capability; with printer sharing, each computer system in the office can print to a single printer.
Just as printer sharing lets your computer access a printer attached to another computer, file sharing lets your computer access files stored on another computer. File sharing makes it quick and easy to transfer data from one system to another and avoids the confusion that results when everyone has their own—possibly out of date or inconsistent—copy of important data files they could not otherwise access.
To provide printer and file sharing, Microsoft Windows uses a facility known as SMB (Server Message Block). This same facility is sometimes known as NetBIOS or LanManager. Thanks to Andrew Tridgell and others, Linux systems provide support for SMB via a package known as Samba. Like SMB, Samba lets you:
Share printers and files among Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Netware, and Unix systems
Establish a simple nameserver for identifying systems on your local area network
Backup PC files to a Linux system and restore them
Administer users and passwords
Samba has proven its reliability and high performance in many organizations. According to the online survey at http://www.samba.org/pub/samba/survey/ssstats.html ...