Samba was originally designed as an open source implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol on Linux-based operating systems. It is mainly used to provide print/file sharing services to CIFS (Common Internet File System) and SMB clients. In other words, Samba is the standard when we talk about interoperability between Windows-based operating system and Linux/UNIX servers. If you want to share files between Linux/UNIX hosts and Windows clients, you have to install Samba.
Features at a glance
Samba is engineered in such a way that it provides secure, fast and stable seamless file and print services to both SMB/CIFS clients. In addition, it supports Active Directory (AD). The Samba project is comprised of two key programs, the SMB saemon (smbd), which handles both "user mode" and "share mode" authorization and authentication processes, and nmbd, which is used for handling name resolution and browsing.
Implements several services and protocols
In time, the Samba project evolved into a comprehensive piece of software that implements several services and protocols, including NBT (NetBIOS over TCP/IP), DCE/RPC (MSRPC), WINS server, Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database, Local Security Authority (LSA) service, and much more. It uses the TCP/IP protocol and allows users to create shares on Linux distributions that can be accessed without hassle on any Microsoft Windows operating system.
Should be installed by default in any Linux distro
Overall, we believe that Samba should be installed by default in any Linux distribution, in order to allow users to efficiently share files with other operating systems. The software runs entirely in the background and it's easily installable on any Linux distribution, directly from its default software repositories, but it can also be used on different platforms, such as OpenVMS, IBM System 390, UNIX, etc.