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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  • grahamperrin - Thursday, July 28, 2011 - link

    Primarily FAO the AnandTech reviewers

    Thank you for a very timely and useful review of FileVault 2.

    The following microblog conversation links to an overview (work in progress) with some unanswered questions. Comments will be greatly appreciated.

    http://identi.ca/conversation/77065575#notice-7963...

    — OpenID enabled, I will welcome contributions in the Identi.ca area.
    Reply
  • nardreiko - Tuesday, August 02, 2011 - link

    And it is a big problem!

    The removal of Expose and Rosetta are big reasons not to "upgrade" for me both now and for the foreseeable future.

    A lot of other things are clunky or ugly or annoying (like the inability to control scrolling speed in System Preferences) ... but those are minor reasons not to "upgrade".

    This was a tough review to do, and I love Anandtech, but I think you guys skimmed over some very important negatives. I don't know a single person who is not an Apple employee or stock owner who claims to really like Lion ... come to think of it I haven't yet met an employee who really likes it, so it is pretty much stock owners who are saying it is an upgrade-without-quotation-marks. Although a lot of employees do genuine like the full-screen mode.
    Reply
  • tomeg - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    nardreiko said:
    "I don't know a single person who is not an Apple employee or stock owner who claims to really like Lion ... come to think of it I haven't yet met an employee who really likes it, so it is pretty much stock owners who are saying it is an upgrade-without-quotation-marks. Although a lot of employees do genuine like the full-screen mode."

    tomeg replies:
    I have a circle of nearly 200 fellow Mac users—real, (mostly) unbiased, not-at-all picky or ego-inflated (I'm not suggesting that you are), everyday-if-not-hour-intensive Mac users—and our experience has been 95% positive or enthusiastic. Some are disappointed with the loss of or change to this or that, as am I, and we have to adjust, go As The Mac OS Turns, but not one isn't glad they upgraded. Any OS must continue to be evolutionary or die. Some things go, others stay, but the overall progress is forward. I will take Lion over Windows 7 hands down this or any day. Windows has its features and (of course) fans but I'm not buying, now or ever, unless something goes massively wrong with current OS development.
    Reply
  • bjoff - Sunday, September 04, 2011 - link

    Thanks for an enlightening test! One thing I wish you had tested was the time to wake from sleep. On my macbook air (with very similar specs to your setup), it seems that waking from sleep takes a couple of seconds more with FileVault enabled. This is pretty significant when you are used to the very quick waking of Apple products... Reply
  • raygos - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    The reviewer complains that Resume can be annoying for the likes of him/her when a clean slate is desired. He/she writes: "I found myself pressing command-W a bunch of times to close windows before I'd press command-Q to quit the program." There is, of course, the shortcut command-option-W to close all open windows in the active application. For mousers, press option while clicking the red "close window" button does the same thing. Gotta save those clicks! Reply
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  • dtalari - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    I am a work-study at a college and we recently bought a bunch of IMACS to make an IMAC Labs for all the students. We also have a few for the staff. We had Snow Leopard installed initially and we were able to connect perfectly fine to all of the servers within our network,however since our implementation of lion the servers don't show up under the shared tab in the finder automatically like before. The computers on the network show up but not the servers. Anyone have any ideas as to why? I figured it has something to do with samba not being implemented as it was in Snow Leopard? Is there any easy way to change a setting? Or do I have to manually add each server to each computer?
    Thanks
    Reply

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