Desktop OS Compatibility

The reality is today that the vast majority of desktop computers out there are not running Linux. One perpetual area of improvement for the Linux kernel is compatibility with popular operating systems, to help users move between them and interoperate with them. While much of this work lies outside the kernel (for example, connecting to a Microsoft ActiveDirectory for login credentials), there has been significant advancement within the Linux 3.0 kernel on this interaction.

While Linux 3.0 still has difficulty accessing NTFS volumes (the default on modern versions of Windows), support for mounting Windows network shares has been significantly improved. These shares are served using the Common Internet Filesystem, or CIFS, which was developed by Microsoft as a successor to the SMB system used by older versions of Windows. Linux 3.0 expands on the kernel's CIFS support in numerous ways such as being able to successfully authenticate against Kerberos / ActiveDirectory, access to certain CIFS extensions for better UNIX compatibility, and others. Linux 3.0 also supports the DFS, Distributed Filesystem, model on top of CIFS. If a network share moves, Linux will be able to transparently discover the move and access the new location instead.

On the Apple side, Linux 3.0 is able to mount filesystems created with the Extended HFS (also known as “HFS+”) filesystem, common on all Macs. Previous versions of Linux were able to read and write only the non-extended version of the system.

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