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I've been spending a lot of time trying to learn different Network File Systems & File Transfer Protocols etc. in order to integrate three different devices with three different Operating Systems: Linux, Windows, Mac OS X.

In particular, I have ben looking into the following:
SMB/CIFS, AFP/Appletalk, FTP/SFTP, NFS, WebDAV (also Bonjour/Avahi, NetBIOS) etc.

This all seems kind of superfluous and not knowing exactly what I should or shouldn't implement has been stressing me out. Suddenly it occurs to me; Can't we do all this already with SSH? (SSHFS, SCP)?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Mike Pennington, Craig Constantine Nov 2 '15 at 20:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This reminds me of the old saying: "Standards are great! There are so many to choose from". – dr01 Nov 2 '15 at 8:41
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    For the same reason you don't speak Esperanto – Ron Trunk Nov 2 '15 at 13:36
  • also, famously, this xkcd: Standards – Craig Constantine Nov 2 '15 at 20:23
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There are so may different file systems because there are so many different OS vendors, each thinking it has the best solution, and some file systems are designed for specific purposes, such as being optimized for databases, which may not be a good fit for other things, such as video streaming.

The various file transfer protocols come from changing needs. For instance, FTP adequately served its purpose for a long time, but the need to encrypt the data being transferred spurred the creation of SCP.

Old file systems and transfer protocols don't vanish overnight, and they may need to be supported for many years. Most vendors try to support older protocols because they don't want to alienate possible customers which may have a need to support older systems.

  • So what is the difference between SFTP & SCP? – voices Oct 22 '15 at 18:11
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    SCP was developed for Unix, while SFTP was developed as a direct replacement/extension for FTP through the RFC process. Again, it comes down to different groups, each thinking it has the correct solution. Vendors, looking to appeal to the widest audience, tend to adopt everything, except where they want lock-in (like file systems that they, themselves spend a lot of money developing). Competition can be good for everyone. Many times, different tools are designed to solve similar but different problems (hammer vs. screwdriver). You may as well ask why we have different car models. – Ron Maupin Oct 22 '15 at 18:21

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