I can recall the first time I installed the Client for Microsoft Networks. It was on Windows for Workgroups 3.11, and my preparation for the day when I’d bring home that big box of Windows NT 3.51 (the one on the shelf across from me when I was working the parts counter at CompUSA).
Microsoft’s networking client was the first one to support TCP/IP, way ahead of NetWare, and probably the single most significant technology that allowed NT to supplant Novell in the enterprise (that, and the fact you could do an emergency install at 3:00 AM and not have to wait for license keys to arrive via courier before business open). Back in the day it was part of every build I did, even if it was followed by an official install of Client32.
All that said, and with due respect to history, I think the time has come to dump the Client for Microsoft Networks, the CIFS (Common Internet File System, a/k/a Server Message Block — SMB — File Sharing, which has never been common and only used on the Internet by morons) and all vestiges of the original Microsoft/IBM LAN Manager system.
This has building a long time for me. As an IT professional who began their career on the Windows side but later transitioned to Unix (Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, Linux again — pretty much in that order), I’ve had to work around the shortcomings (and performance robbing consequences) of Microsoft’s way of doing things for a very long time.
Problems getting my Windows clients at home to consistently use Internet standard DNS for name resolution (even after disabling WINS and LMHOSTS lookup) recently prompted me to disable the Client for Microsoft Networks in their network interface configurations. The result, after cycling the network interface to make the change effective, was immediate. No more failed lookups.
The loss of the crippled file sharing in Windows Home Premium isn’t something my family is going to notice (all our Windows machines are equipped with WinSCP for exchanging files with the home CentOS Linux server, and have the FileZilla [s]ftp server software installed and ready to go for transferring between Windows machines), and my current efforts to set up a robust backup solution for those Windows machines are already leaning towards using ftp/sftp transfer to the backup server (the software I’m testing at the moment is SyncBack, a duplicity-like solution using components that mostly already exist for Windows like zipfile encryption).