Is their a relationship between regression and linear discriminant analysis? What are their similarities and differences? Does it make any difference for two classes and more than two classes?
I take it that the question is about LDA and linear (not logistic) regression.
There is a considerable and meaningful relation between linear regression and linear discriminant analysis. In case the DV consisting just of 2 groups the two analyses are actually identical. Despite that computations are different and the results - regression and discriminant coefficients - are not the same, they are exactly proportional to each other.
Now for the more-than-two-groups situation. First, let us state that LDA (its extraction, not classification stage) is equivalent (linearly related results) to canonical correlation analysis if you turn the grouping DV into a set of dummy variables (with one redundant of them droped out) and do canonical analysis with sets "IVs" and "dummies". Canonical variates on the side of "IVs" set that you obtain are what LDA calls "discriminant functions" or "discriminants".
So, then how canonical analysis is related to linear regression? Canonical analysis is in essence a MANOVA (in the sence "Multivariate Multiple linear regression" or "Multivariate general linear model") deepened into latent structure of relationships between the DVs and the IVs. These two variations are decomposed in their inter-relations into latent "canonical variates". Let us take the simplest example, Y vs X1 X2 X3. Maximization of correlation between the two sides is linear regression (if you predict Y by Xs) or - which is the same thing - is MANOVA (if you predict Xs by Y). The correlation is unidimensional (with magnitude R^2 = Pillai's trace) because the lesser set, Y, consists just of one variable. Now let's take these two sets: Y1 Y2 vs X1 x2 x3. The correlation being maximized here is 2-dimensional because the lesser set contains 2 variables. The first and stronger latent dimension of the correlation is called the 1st canonical correlation, and the remaining part, orthogonal to it, the 2nd canonical correlation. So, MANOVA (or linear regression) just asks what are partial roles (the coefficients) of variables in the whole 2-dimensional correlation of sets; while canonical analysis just goes below to ask what are partial roles of variables in the 1st correlational dimension, and in the 2nd.
Thus, canonical correlation analysis is multivariate linear regression deepened into latent structure of relationship between the DVs and IVs. Discriminant analysis is a particular case of canonical correlation analysis. Here is the answer about the relation of LDA to linear regression in a general case of more-than-two-groups.
Note that my answer does not at all see LDA as classification technique. I was discussing LDA only as extraction-of-latents technique. Classification is the second and stand-alone stage of LDA (I described it here). @Michael Chernick was focusing on it in his answers.
Here is a reference to one of Efron's papers: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2285453?uid=3739864&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=47699111262887
Here is an abstract that mentions O'Neill's papers related to his Ph D dissertation:
There are a lot of other references on this that you can find online.
Linear regression and linear discriminant analysis are very different. Linear regression relates a dependent variable to a set of independent predictor variables. The idea is to find a function linear in the parameters that best fits the data. It does not even have to be linear in the covariates. Linear discriminant analysis on the other hand is a procedure for classifying objects into categories. For the two-class problem it seeks to find the best separating hyperplane for dividing the groups into two catgories. Here best means that it minimizes a loss function that is a linear combination of the error rates. For three or more groups it finds the best set of hyperplanes (k-1 for the k class problem). In discriminant analysis the hypoerplanes are linear in the feature variables.
The main similarity between the two is term linear in the titles.