Q: I am interested in using Linux as a file server for a Macintosh and Windows environment. Is this functionality built into most Linux distributions?
If not, is there a Linux enhancement that would suffice?
A: It's a standard joke that Linux can communicate in everything but smoke signals, and we're working on that. A Linux server can act as a file or print server for both Mac and Windows machines. Samba will convince Windows machines that your Linux box is a Windows NT server. Samba support is compiled into the kernel, the Samba binaries are provided, and documentation for it can be found in /usr/doc/sambaxxxx on all of our machines. You will have to do some configuration yourself.
Appletalk networking is available, and support is compiled into our kernels. Most distributions don't provide the necessary NetATalk server software, but you can install it.
In general, most distributions have support for Samba, but not Appletalk. In some cases, you will have to compile support into the kernel.
If you want to know what`s involved in configuration, and the available support, try these three sites:
Greatest HOWTO I know of. (Note that the RPM will allow you to skip to the "Configure the options" step.)
The Samba Project.
(Part of the Linux Documentation Project)
Paul J. Wagner and Andy Lindeman wrote (originally for Red Hat, Inc.) a FAQ on Samba setup from the Windows side: