Apple has historically used Samba, an open-source implementation of the SMB file sharing protocol, to share files with Windows machines. First included in OS X 10.2, Samba also enabled Macs to both join and host Windows-compatible directory servers, increasing the then-fledgling OS’s viability in a business setting. However, the Samba team recently began licensing the software under the GPL3 license, which prohibits its inclusion in retail products, and rather than lose these key interoperability features, Apple chose to develop its own in-house implementation for Lion. What does that mean for you, the user?

Well, for starters, Lion’s new SMB implementation is SMB 2.0 only - this is a Microsoft-developed improvement of the specification that was introduced in Windows Vista and continued in Windows 7. This has one major ramifications for Lion users, and I suspect it will only impact a fraction of a fraction of them: Lion computers can no longer be joined to NT Domain Controller directories. These directories are quite old at this point - their successor, Active Directory, came with Windows Server 2000 in 1999, and has become much more robust with each Windows Server release since - but if, for some reason, you or your business uses new or newish Macs on an ancient domain, Lion’s going to break things for you (Lion does, however, remain compatible with Active Directory).

You never want to see an OS lose features, but I can’t say I blame Apple much for making this call, and it’s not a secret that Apple has historically been much less interested in backward compatibility than Microsoft. For people who absolutely need for OS X to have this functionality, Samba is definitely still around, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone begin maintaining an OS X-friendly fork of the software. Just know Lion won’t do it out of the box anymore.

SMB’s main use in OS X is for file sharing with Windows users, though, and I can say that file sharing with users of both Windows XP and Windows 7 (and, by extension, Windows Vista, for what it’s worth) works just fine once you set it up in System Preferences. I was able to copy files to and from a basic share I made without issue.

Anecdotally, I can also say that connecting to and browsing through an SMB share with many files and folders feels faster than Snow Leopard does on the same system connected to the same share. In Snow Leopard, I’d often have to wait for folders with a lot of data in them to populate - in Lion, things are more or less instantaneous. SMB2 was optimized to improve speed over high-latency connections, and I’m sure that accounts for at least some of the increased snappiness.

Farewell, Core Duo: 64-bit in Lion Performance: Similar to Snow Leopard
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  • VMFnet - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I just installed Lion on a OCZ Vertex2 SSD and it still doesn't support TRIM. I guess support for this feature is limited to stock Apple SSDs only. Reply
  • Sapan - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the reply. It is a shame that there still is no TRIM support.

    In the mean time I would recommend checking out a 3rd party program called TRIM Enabler:
    http://www.groths.org/?page_id=322

    Though the program is designed for Snow Leopard it works for Lion, but they are making a new version for Lion.
    Reply
  • mdlam - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I love how these diehard Apple fans are trying to resolve their discomforting feelings of exorbitant expenditure to Apple by

    A: Unreasonably denigrating other competitive alternatives.
    B: Exaggerating the usefulness of certain proprietary tools.
    C: Empathizing with the company's goals/missions/values

    All to resolve the realization that they are paying more money than what they are getting, which is...

    A totally outdated OS made to look streamline
    A pretty cool looking computer that uses tunnel fans (which are extremely loud) and likes to overheat.
    I used Snow Leopard on my Mac Mini for about 2 months and hated it. I think people force themselves to like OSX just because their laptop looks cool.
    Horrible graphics speeds. Their BEST video card that you can fit into a their $4500 Mac Pro, is a ATI 6500 series, which is like a 100 dollar card, and offers pathetic performance for gaming--I had a 6950 2gb and that was barely enough. You can argue that Mac pro's should be used for graphics design and other things and not gaming. If that's the case I don't see why they don't put a FireGL or other designer cards in. In any case, who buys a $4500 computer that comes with a bullcrap video card? Some people are IDIOTS.
    Reply
  • mdlam - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Edit: A $170 dollar video card, 6870 1gb...Which is a complete piece of garbage card that is 30% slower than the 5970 1gb. Guess how much the upgrade is? $200.

    Post is based off of cognitive dissonance theory
    Reply
  • parlour - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    Macs don’t seem to be the right choice for you. That’s alright. Just don’t claim that everyone else has the same needs as you. Reply
  • sjinsjca - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    The test with the SSD is intriguing but there's a possibility that the FileVault performance hit might be less in the case of a conventional hard disk.

    Reason: hard disks are slower than SSDs, so there would be more idle states in which the OS could be performing encryption/decryption tasks.

    Worth a spot-check.
    Reply
  • EnerJi - Sunday, July 24, 2011 - link

    That's a great point. I'd also love to know if the performance impact decreases with an HDD. Reply
  • johnmacward - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    What annoys me is the fact that the recovery partition doesn't keep a copy of the Lion installer for instant re-installation - and with a bit of Apple magic even a copy that updates as the OS updates.

    A download each time is a possibly expensive prospect considering we all have data caps of some kind.

    It also turns a reinstall into a shockingly long 4 hour job which is a major pain.
    Reply
  • luca108 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Small detail, but in the review you said you could only launch Launchpad by clicking the dock icon or using spotlight, but you can also set it as a hot corner. This is what I personally do... top left corner set for Launchpad and I can quickly get in and out of it to find my apps and utilities.

    I'm not suggesting it's quicker than using an apps stack on the dock... actually, its the exact same. But it definitely is faster than clicking the Launchpad dock icon or using spotlight to launch it.
    Reply
  • Thrakazog - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know if Lion extended trim support to 3rd party SSD's, instead of only the ones apple provides ? Reply

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