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How to Network Red Hat Linux and Microsoft Windows
Last updated: 9/7/02

This article will show you step-by-step how to setup a computer running Red Hat Linux version 7.3 in a network with computers running various versions of Microsoft Windows.  The Windows computers will be able to share files and printers with the Linux computer and vice versa, and it will be possible to move files and folders back and fourth between the computers.

INTRODUCTION.  Linux is a Unix-like operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds in 1991.  Over time individuals and companies began distributing Linux with their own suite of accompanying modifications and software.  Presently, the distribution of Linux has become a multi-million (if not, billion) dollar business.  However, Linux was developed under a GNU general public license and is free to anyone who wants it.  Various Linux distribution packages, with all sorts of quite respectable and powerful software, are available as free downloads from numerous web sites on the Internet.  These downloads are huge (one really needs a reliable, high-speed cable or DSL broadband Internet connection to download them) and usually consist of CD-ROM CD images from which CDs can be made for installation with a CD-RW drive. Distributions are also available on CD with documentation and various sorts of support at modest prices from retail outlets such as Walmart.

Linux will run most of the software you see on the Internet (much of the Internet is run on Linux) and much more.  It can act as either a  workstation, server, or both on a Local Area Network (LAN) and provide most of the services available from other, often expensive server software packages.  It is not as user-friendly to most people as some other systems such as Microsoft Windows.

Red Hat  (RH) is the largest Linux distributor and various Red Hat Distributions are running on about 75% of all of the Linux-based computers in the world.  That does not necessarily mean it is the best distribution or the best one for a particular application, or that Linux is better than other free unix-based packages such as FreeBSD.

Many Linux distributions include an open source program called Samba.  Samba is also available as a free download on the Internet.  The Samba web site describes Samba as a

"Protocol by which a lot of PC-related machines share files and printers and other information such as lists of available files and printers.  Operating systems that support this natively include Windows NT, OS/2, and Linux and add on packages that achieve the same thing are available for DOS, Windows, VMS, Unix of all kinds, MVS, and more. Apple Macs and some Web Browsers can speak this protocol as well.  Alternatives to SMB include Netware, NFS, Appletalk, Banyan Vines, Decnet etc; many of these have advantages but none are both public specifications and widely implemented in desktop machines by default."

In short, Samba software allows you to integrate a Linux computer into a Microsoft Windows network.  It can also make Linux a dedicated server and network domain controller.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.