Software

SMB Server for BeagleBoard

And a potted history that wouldn’t be out of place on a TV soap, if only there was one about computer software.

Thomas Milius has updated the RISC OS Samba server, smbserver version 0.08, to work on BeagleBoard-xM based systems. His previous update to version 0.08, back in 2009 according to the announcement from Herbert zur Nedden, was to make it run on the IYONIX pc, and that version remains available to download from the same location – the new version being incompatible with that machine – along with a version for the A9home.

SMB, or Server Message Block, is a protocol that originated at IBM in the 1980s, and further developed by Microsoft (as CIFS – Common Internet File System) and others, that allows different computers to share files, printers and more over a network, with one machine acting as a server (on which the resources are held) and the other(s) connecting to it as clients. Samba is an implementation of the protocol originally developed on Unix by Andrew Tridgell in the early 1990s, and which has since grown in popularity, with ports available for various platforms – RISC OS included, with the original port (of version 2.02-19990209) by David Buxton still being available on SourceForge.

Unfortunately, that version was not without problems, which (according to user ‘WikiSysop’ in 2006 on riscos.info, who I assume must be Peter Naulls) included “it being quite slow [and] constantly at risk of locking up the entire system or just crashing”. Permission had been obtained from David Buxton to continue development, and the problem apparently isolated and fixed. Other changes and performance improvements were made independently by Thomas Milius, and the riscos.info page for the software originally reported that both sets of changes would be incorporated into a future release.

In April 2007, Herbert zur Nedden announced the availability of Thomas Milius’ IYONIX compatible version 0.08 from the German Archimedes Group website, explaining that this was because Thomas had removed the software from his own site having forwarded his changed sources to the Unix Porting Project, expecting an updated version to appear. No version had appeared, and that meant an IYONIX compatible version wasn’t available.

This led to a short discussion on comp.sys.acorn.networking which soon turned into a disagreement between Peter Naulls and Herbert zur Nedden, starting with Peter objecting to not being contacted to discuss the release, and going rapidly downhill from there – and soon after the riscos.info page reported that development had split, linking to the original SourceForge version and the version by Thomas Milius, and was soon updated to describe the former as the ‘classic’ version and the latter one as being based on that, but “with several fixes for more stable use on IYONIX.”

In July 2007, Peter Naulls (as user Pnaulls) updated the page to read “The version previously hosted on riscos.info is unavailable at this time, due to lack of cooperation from other parties”, indicating that the change was to “Make comments more accurate.” This was then updated in November 2007 to include the link to Thomas Milius’ version again, with some text disassociating Peter from it – and in February 2008, John Tytgat updated some links, adding one to the discussion on comp.sys.acorn.networking from 2007, with the text then saying what it does now.

With that potted history of the RISC OS port of Samba out of the way, I’ll end this article with this quote from Herbert zur Nedden’s announcement of the the BeagleBoard-xM version earlier this week:

Please note that before we put he IYONIX pc version online in 2009 we did try to get together with Peter Naulls wo was working on a new, better smbserver version as he told us but he didn’t want to join forces (despite at that time being busy to request support from others) and when asked when his version will be online to try just said “when it’s ready”