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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  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    that's pretty neat. It looks like it adds in a bunch of interesting features. The one trend I do see it that both mac and M$ are driving components from there mobile platforms into there desktops. I don't mind if they do this, but I still want a different feel between devices.

    As for the complaints and shouts of if its a service pack that should be free, or if its an update worth 30 bucks. On this subject I think that there is no comparison, M$ has a setup that benefits its use of massive volume licencing, but the option to pay for service packs makes sense for a company that does not dominate 90% of the market, but want to maintain more talent to add more features. I know that some people might take offense to this, but its my opinion so screw you.

    Still confused on the full screen thing, I can move between applications easily, with all of them in full screen, its called ALT+TAB, or Win+Tab, or CTRL+TAB (when you want to cycle through your web browser only. so the entire portion where he says its a advantage over win (this feature) makes me confused, then again i'm a big fan of keyboard shortcuts, so i could be missing things. I'm hoping that the full screen feature pans out. I am considering getting one, but not till they leave the OSX family. (still hate the way it came to be >.<)

    the movement away from CD is great, here's hoping that there are plans in the works for all software to be distributed like this, because... I cant remember the last time i walked into a store and asked myself what program do i need...

    Over all it was a interesting read.
    Reply
  • chenedwa - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I just installed Lion on my circa 2009 MBP 2.53GHz C2D. I then tried to download the latest Parallels update via WiFi using Firefox 8 beta and was getting phenominal transfer speeds of more than 900kB/sec for the 203MB download! Wow! Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    None of that sounds wow worthy... Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Or applicable to the article... Reply
  • ThreeDee912 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    About future support for the white MacBooks, it appears that Apple has silently discontinued them. They're nowhere to be found on the Apple Store website.

    Engadget also reported that they received word from Apple that they really were discontinued:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/20/the-macbook-dro...
    Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    "Also missing is the button in the upper right-hand corner that would invoke icon-only view - those of you who use it will have to become acquainted with Alt+Command+T, a keyboard shortcut that toggles this change."

    Should be Command-Option-T.
    Reply
  • SmCaudata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    So with my early 2008 Mac Book I already took a hit to batter life with Snow Leopard. In fact, I just got a new battery and after a couple of months the health reads at 80%. I have seen other's with this issue but the posts often get deleted on the main apple forums. Now I would take another hit to upgrade to Lion?

    I really liked my MacBook Pro when I got it, but this blatant disregard for current customers in a push to get people to upgrade is ridiculous. My laptop has plenty of power for laptop tasks. I don't need to upgrade hardware for performance reasons.

    Remember how much crap Microsoft took for making Vista a system hog on older systems? Do you think that Apple will ever see anywhere near the rage?
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Then don't upgrade.

    What are you so angry about? Your mac will work just like it used to. Apple will continue to provide security and other updates for at least three years. You'll get iTunes and Safari updates. What's the problem?

    If you find you HAVE to have some Lion feature, sell your MacBook on eBay --- you'll get a surprisingly good price.
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    The 64 bit support isn't entirely an Apple issue. It is Intel that treats 64 bit as a feature to be hacked out of CPUs on a whim to make them "cheaper." It just bugs me the way its been handled by everyone but AMD. 64bit sure looks like the future, but here we are dragging our heels on support.

    Anyway, does OSX support SMT? I thought that it didn't, but I see the latest specs of hardware with the 2/4 core/thread configuration.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Ehh? SMT is a processor feature, OSX will use as many cores (real or virtual) as you can throw at it. Reply

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