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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 supports direct communication with the various Microsoft Windows operating systems. Microsoft networking is based on the Common Internet File System (CIFS), which was developed from the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Samba was developed as a freely available SMB server for all Unix-related operating systems, including Linux, and has been upgraded to support CIFS.
Samba interacts with CIFS so transparently that Microsoft clients cannot tell your Linux server from a genuine Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 server, and with Samba there are no server, client, or client access licenses to purchase. If you can learn to edit the main Samba configuration file from the command line interface, you can configure Samba quickly. RHEL 3 includes a GUI alternative, the Samba Server Configuration utility.
If you're taking the RHCE exam, you definitely have to know how to configure Samba as a server and as a client. While there is no direct reference to Samba in the RHCT requirements, the spirit of the exam suggests that you need to know how to set up a Linux computer as a client on a network. While Samba clients are relatively easy to use, there is no reference to Samba client software in the Red Hat curricula related to the RHCT exam.
Once you configure a Samba server, you can use Samba clients on Linux just as easily as you can use Microsoft's Network Neighborhood or My Network Places. While I can't tell you what I saw on the RHCE exam, you don't need a Microsoft Windows computer to confirm that you've configured Samba properly.
CUPS is something that you may expect to configure on the RHCT and RHCE exams. You'll need to know how to configure a CUPS printer locally and to be shared on a network. You need to know how to connect to a remote printer through CUPS. And finally, you'll want to learn how to manage CUPS print queues.
Printing is a fundamental service for all operating systems. The default for RHEL 3 is CUPS, which has replaced the Line Print Daemon. CUPS supports autoconfiguration of shared network printers and includes a Web interface configuration tool. Red Hat has also customized its own graphical configuration tool. It also provides connectivity to several other network print services via their native protocols.
As for the RHCE exam, you may have to configure or troubleshoot any of the services discussed in this chapter. So as you read this chapter and look through the configuration files and exercises, be willing to experiment. And practice, practice, practice what you learn.
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