Improvement: Network shares and shared printers

One of the core functionalities of a 1A-server areshares, also known as network drives. Shares and shared printers are provided by the open source software Samba. Over the years we have made many changes thereto to ensure that the 1A-server remains compatible with the latest versions of Windows and other operating systems like Mac OS X.

SambaIn the most recent maintenance cycle, we have added a number of improvements:

  • Accurate file locking
  • Improved communication
  • Improved printer support

Accurate file locking

We have been noticing issues with file locking when working with documents on shares. There was a solution, but it was not compatible with many programs, specifically multi-user databases such as MS Access and Pervasive, which could cause loss of data. This was ofcourse not acceptable as a solution.

Eventually we cooked up a solution. Armed with that knowledge, we went to work on the registered cases. Our adjustments solved the issues in 100% of the cases!

Fully in line with our model, these changes have been deployed to all 1A-servers.

Improved communication

The language Samba uses is called SMB (Server Message Block). There are several dialects (or versions) and computers automatically negotiate which dialect is the best to use between them. The following dialects exist at the moment of writing:

  • CIFS – antique version used in Windows NT 4.0 (1996). Replaced by SMB1.
  • SMB1 – Used in Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2 and Linux (with Samba)
  • SMB2 – Used in Windows Vista (SP1 and later), Windows Server 2008, Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and Linux (Samba 3.6 and up)
  • SMB2.1 – Used in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Linux (Samba 4.0 and up)
  • SMB3 – Used in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and Linux (Samba 4.0 and up)
  • SMB3 (3.02) – Used in Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Linux (Samba 4.1 and up)

Previously the 1A-server only supported CIFS and SMB1. Even though this works fine with all recent versions of Windows, it is not optimal. Samba on the 1A-server now also supports SMB2.

This makes working with files on shares of a 1A-server from computers that support SMB2 run faster and smoother.

Improved printer support

The printer support in the current version of Samba has completely been rewritten to ensure that this part will work flawlessly the next few years. You will not notice anything about this. This is one of the many parts under the hood which are maintained by 1A First Alternative.

Read more about Open Source Technology on the 1A-server »


Richard de Vroede

A perfectionistic Jack-of-all-trades who dedicates all of his passion to his work.