Generally, if your speaking of the windows and not the linux side.
Your problem is understanding networking basics.
Know are you using Samba to transfer files to and from one Windows xp and Windows 98 clients.
If this is the case you must remember that the Samba is used primarily to transfer Windows files to a Unix/Linux system. Not to provide Windows with a primary server.
Know if your using lets say Windows Excel 2000 on the Windows xp system and are trying to open the same program on the Windows 98 system then 1 of 2 options must exsist.
1. Windows 98 must have the software installed at the local client computer in order to read this file. Typically this uses up to much space on a typical Windows 98 computer.
2. Windows Server such as NT 4.0, 2000 and 2003. The objective here is to put the application Windows excel 2000 on the server and to allow access to the server to hold the application and have Centralized Administration. Know this choose usually requires users license and a server setup . Which cost 4,000 dollars for just the Server software plus 10 user license . Compared to a Linux server which costs lets say 600 dollars and comes with 3000 user license straight out the box. Also all the software to accomplish office suite and many other applications have no price tag to them in linux but, on the other hand Windows office suite will run you a fine penny.
The best solution I can recommend for you is to go to barnes and Noble spend about 2 to 3 hours researching Networks. Look at books such as Networking for Dummies. Focus on software setup not the hardware.
You might even be able to find most of this information through google.com but, more than likely you will run into incomplete info via the Internet.
PS.....also make sure the info is written in this concept K.I.S.S...
Which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.....
well have a good night just work on your understanding of network basics.....
Ps...also I'm working on my grammar and run-on sentences so,if you see incorrect punctuation please advice. Getting ready for english 1301.... Been 10 years since I've written a research paper... I'm a right brain person how needs to think as a left brain personl......
well Asta la vista.......