Decryption of the title of Luke K.C. Leighton's book DCE/RPC over SMB: Samba and Windows NT Domain Internals
can be found on pages 5 and 8. It stands for "Distributed Computing Environment Remote Procedure Calls over the Server Message Block." If this means nothing to you, at least understand this: the world of computation is transcending individual CPUs and is inhabiting a virtual environment where physically remote machines work together on complex projects by distributing procedures among themselves. It is the brave new world of computing, and its leading/bleeding edge will seem like alphabet soup for several years yet, until it suddenly becomes the bread and butter of our informatics infrastructure.
Leighton and four assistants have been developing a Unix-Windows NT distributed interoperability scheme since summer 1997. Leighton acknowledges that they are far from finished, but this book represents their collected notes as they partially network-reverse-engineer and partially document Microsoft's distributed computing remote procedure calls.
Leighton's fascinating first section describes the history and politics of communications protocol development and documentation/non-documentation strategies. He explains his apparently strange choice to ignore the official DCE/RPC documentation. The reason, he explains, is his group's motivation to network-reverse-engineer Microsoft's undocumented implementation, which is significantly dissimilar.
Boasting no figures at all, DCE/RPC over SMB consists of 217 pages of austere text ("written with vi and yodl... no GUIs were harmed") and 35 pages of appendices on Samba source code and Windows NT password and authentication methods. The book is a reference for do-it-yourselfers who want to use distributed computing in a Unix-Windows NT environment but can't afford the source license of Microsoft's DCE/RPC or need only a subset of Microsoft's DCE/RPC functionality.
In the minefield of proprietary protocols and software interoperability development, Laurie Petrycki and New Riders deserve special medals of valor for helping the free software community by publishing works in progress. DCE/RPC over SMB is the boldest mission yet. Single points of failure abound for both the project and the book. Even if Microsoft's implementation of RPC and SMB protocols remain quasi-static during Leighton's development time (Windows 2000 appears not to have undergone major changes), Microsoft could quite easily surprise the development community by publishing its own complete documentation, in which case all of the hard-won discoveries become redundant. The alternative, conceding "public" DCE/RPC interface and functionality issues in a multi-OS environment to Microsoft, is significantly less appealing. --Peter Leopold
From the Back Cover
Designed to provide in-depth technical information for CIFS implementers, network security experts, developers of network traffic analysis tools, developers of Windows NT software, and network administrators. DCE/RPC over SMB: Samba and Windows NT Domain Internals covers such topics as: implementing DCE/RPC over SMB in Samba; developing NT Domain administration functionality; understanding the internetworkings of Windows NT's internal security components; using the NT Service Control Manager over-the-wire; and managing a Windows NT SAM Database. If you deal with Windows NT development, security, or administration, DCE/RPC over SMB: Samba and Windows NT Domain Internals is an essential source of information on: encrypting DCE/RPC using NTLM Secure Service Provider; Viewing files, shares, and sessions that are open on a server; and adding, modifying, and deleting keys and values on the NT registry.