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Although NTLM was not as secure as was originally thought, it was very helpful because it neatly solved the problem of needing to maintain duplicate user accounts across multiple servers on the network.
Starting with Windows 2000, Microsoft moved from NTLM to Active Directory and its integrated Kerberos authentication services.
They managed to accomplish this by either looking up names and password hashes in /etc/passwd (the traditional text file containing Linux user credentials) or providing an entirely different (and separate) mechanism.
I'm a Windows guy, and I've certainly poked fun at my Linux-oriented colleagues, but we all have the same goal of providing high-quality and cost-effective IT services to the organization.
Originally, Linux (and the GNU tools and libraries that run on it) was not built with a single authentication mechanism in mind.
As a result of this, Linux application developers generally took to creating their own authentication scheme.
In particular, Winbind uses Kerberos to authenticate with Active Directory and LDAP to retrieve user and group information.
Winbind also provides additional services such as the ability to locate DCs using an algorithm similar to the DCLOCATOR in Active Directory and the ability to reset Active Directory passwords by communicating with a DC using RPC.