Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Around sixty developers from over twenty different companies converged on Google's Mountain View Campus at the end of September to sample the free food. Oh yes, and also to test their implementations of the CIFS network protocol for interoperability.
CIFS, the Common Internet File System (that's Windows Networking to you and me), is the file sharing protocol build into all Windows versions, and also MacOS X, Linux, HPUX and now Solaris clients. Samba is the best known Free Software implementation of CIFS, and most of the Samba Team were there to help improve Samba3 and Samba4's interoperability along with the other CIFS vendors.
Over the three days much code was written, much beer was drunk, and the air was turned blue with cursing when bugs were found! As the Samba Team were mentoring several Google Summer of CodeTM students, we also got to record a podcast about our experiences participating in the program over the past three years.
Thanks to Google for hosting the event and setting up the gigabit networking required. The endless coffee supply was also essential when dealing with network protocol problems.
The best summary of the success of our testing occurred on the final day of the event, when a sad and frustrated CIFS client programmer wrote the following on our testing notes whiteboard:
"the server *hates* me :-) :-)"
It was great to see everyone coming together, even people from competing companies, to help fix problems with everyone's implementations of CIFS. Look for the resulting improvements in new versions of products and future releases of Samba.