From BYTE magazine

NFS is a network-file-server protocol developed by Sun Microsystems. It layers on top of IP, which runs over a wide variety of media (most typically Ethernet, but serial lines, FDDI [Fiber Distributed Data Interface], and wireless LANs are not uncommon).

NFS is a stateless file-sharing protocol, which means that the file server can reboot and its clients won't notice, except for the delay during the reboot. Hence, it is an ideal protocol to run over large networks that have long latency delays or that cover a wide geographical area, such as the Internet.

While NFS is a de facto standard in the Unix world and many Unix systems support it, NFS has not caught on in the PC marketplace. One reason for this is that it requires additional protocols to manage the technical details of such server application necessities as file and record locking and file system mounting and unmounting. These capabilities were designed to run as processes separate from NFS, and that's something DOS doesn't handle as gracefully as Unix does.

However, a number of companies have warmed to the capabilities of Unix, especially for large applications, and have invested in Unix systems. Companies that want to share data among all their computers--which often include PCs, Macintoshes, and Unix and other systems--can choose from a good selection of TCP/IP software that often includes NFS support as an option.

[---end BYTE magazine---]


Technical: Most NFS software use the UDP/IP protocol. (If you have TCP/IP, you also have UDP/IP).

NFS exist in two major versions, version 2 (RFC 1094) and version 3. (RFC1813)

Unix/Linux


NFS is implemented as part of the standard UNIX and Linux distributions. See: man nfs, man nfsd, man mount

NFS for Windows


As usual, there are piles of commercial packages available. The only freeware NFS server I have found is Soss for NT. This tiny little thing is working fine, but it runs as a console program and not as a hidden Windows program or NT service. It has also some limitations. The most significant is that the portmapper don't work with other RPC based software. The Soss server is distributed with full source code. I don't think it have it's own website or distribution site any more, but you can download it from download.jgaa.com.

I once wrote a NFS server for Windows, War NFS Daemon. This project is now obsoleted and not maintained. I have no urge to write a new NFS server for Windows.