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Samba. Samba. A free software re-implementation of SMB/CIFS networking protocol Released under the GNU General Public License

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  • A free software re-implementation of SMB/CIFS networking protocol

    • Released under the GNU General Public License

    • The term Samba comes from inserting one vowel, twice, into the name of the standard protocol used by the Microsoft Windows network file system, "SMB" (Server Message Block).


  • As of version 3

    • Samba provides file and print services to various Microsoft Windows clients

    • Can integrate with a Windows Server domain

      • Either as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC)

      • Or as a Domain Member

    • Can be part of an Active Directory domain

    • Samba runs on most Unix and Unix-like systems

      • E.g. Linux, Solaris, and the BSD variants, including Apple's Mac OS X Server (which was added to the Mac OS X client in version 10.2).

    • Samba is standard on nearly all distributions of Linux

      • Commonly included as a basic system service on other Unix-based operating systems as well


  • Andrew Tridgell developed the first version of Samba Unix in 1992, at the Australian National University

    • Used a packet sniffer to do network analysis of the protocol used by DEC PATHWORKS server software

      • "nbserver 1.5" was released in December 1993

    • Later discovered that the protocol was largely identical to that used by other network server systems

      • Including Microsoft's LAN Manager software

    • Decided to focus on Microsoft network compatibility after that


  • Originally called smbserver

    • Name changed because of a trademark notice from the company "Syntax“

      • Sold a product named TotalNet Advanced Server, and also owned the trademark for "SMBserver"

    • Name "Samba" was arrived at by running the Unix command grep through the system dictionary looking for words that contained the letters S, M, and B in that order

      • i.e. grep -i 's.*m.*b.*' /usr/share/dict/words


  • Samba is an implementation of:

    • Dozens of services and a dozen protocols, including

      • NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT)

      • SMB

        • CIFS (an enhanced version of SMB)

      • DCE/RPC

        • More specifically, MSRPC

      • The Network Neighborhood suite of protocols

      • A WINS server also known as a NetBIOS Name Server (NBNS)

      • The NT Domain suite of protocols which includes NT Domain Logons

      • Secure Accounts Manager (SAM) database

      • Local Security Authority (LSA) service

      • NT-style printing service (SPOOLSS)

      • NTLM

      • Active Directory Logon

        • involves a modified version of Kerberos

      • A modified version of LDAP

    • These services and protocols are incorrectly referred to as NetBIOS and/or SMB

  • Samba can also see and share printers


  • Samba sets up network shares for chosen Unix directories (including all contained subdirectories)

    • Appear to Microsoft Windows users as normal Windows folders accessible via the network

    • Unix users can either mount the shares

      • Directly as part of their file structure

      • Use a utility, smbclient (libsmb) installed with Samba to read the shares with a similar interface to a standard command line FTP program

    • Each directory can have different access privileges overlayed on top of the normal Unix file protections

      • For example: home directories would have read/write access for all known users, allowing each to access their own files

      • Would still not have access to the files of others unless that permission would normally exist

    • Note that the netlogon share is the logon directory for user logon scripts

      • Typically distributed as a read only share from /etc/samba/netlogon


  • Configuration is achieved by editing a single file

    • Usually installed as /etc/smb.conf or /etc/samba/smb.conf

  • Using poledit Samba can also provide:

    • User logon scripts

    • Group policy implementation