SunSoft awaits broad vendor support of WebNFS

Rohit Khare (
Sun, 11 Aug 1996 00:22:18 -0400 (EDT)

Unsurprisingly, Sun's WebNFS is treading water because it solves
NFS's problems, not HTTP's...


SunSoft awaits broad vendor support of WebNFS

By Paul Krill
InfoWorld Electric

Posted at 12:43 PM PT, Aug 9, 1996

SunSoft Inc. is facing an uphill battle to get its WebNFS protocol
accepted by Web browser vendors that do not currently see the need to
use the network file system (NFS) technology in their products for
Web-based file access.

Major browser vendors Netscape Communications Corp. and Microsoft
Corp. are shying away from WebNFS, saying that customers are just not

"We didn't announce support for it because we don't have a role for it
right now," said Marc Andreessen, chief technology officer for
Netscape, in Mountain View, Calif. Customers are more concerned about
information access than distributed file systems, he said.

Microsoft is maintaining a similar position. The company is waiting
for customer demand for WebNFS while maintaining support of HTTP as
the common method for file access via Web browsers, according to
company officials.

Meanwhile, IBM recently announced DFS Web software that integrates DFS
with Web servers. It enables DFS files to be accessed remotely and
over the Internet using standard World Wide Web browsers, officials

A user of both Microsoft and Netscape Web browsers said Microsoft's
Common Internet File System will be a better solution than WebNFS
because it utilizes technology already supported in Windows desktops.

"If the Internet [community] decides to standardize on NFS, then we're
going to need two file systems on our desktops," said Paul Osterhoudt,
software engineer at an aerospace company in San Pedro, Calif.

Janpieter Scheerder, president of SunSoft, also based in Mountain
View, said NFS presents a better way of accessing files.

"The current HTTP protocols are hopelessly inefficient in terms of
getting files," Scheerder said.