Those waiting for Samba 4 might have to wait a little longer -- but it will be well worth the wait, developers say.
In a team blog posted on Christmas Day, the Samba team announced it will merge the existing Samba 3 backbone services, the file and print server and Winbind identity mapping code, with the Samba 4 Active Directory code.
"Obviously this will require quite a lot of merge work, but we believe this may be possible to achieve in 2010," the team's holiday posting announced.
So it sounds like the release date is looking like late 2010 but it could well push into 2011.
The team has never formally announced a date of release for the much anticipated 4 upgrade, but many expected its arrival in the near future.
Samba 4, after all, has been worked on for more than five years and the new Active Directory code is being used in production at some customer sites. Additionally, the Samba 3 Windows NT4 compatible Domain Controller is not being widely deployed because there aren't many customers that don't use Active Directory today, the team freely acknowledged on its holiday posting.
So why do it? To ensure compatibility, the team blog said.
"This way people with an existing Samba 3 production product or sites will have a stable and predictable upgrade to the Samba 4 release," according to a statement on the blog. "Our goal is to keep the code-base stable and minimize the impact of these changes on our users and vendors."
The integrated product will result in name changes. The Samba 3 file and print server will become the Samba file and print service, the Samba 3 winbindd will be known as the Samba identity service and the Samba 4 Active Directory will be named the Samba Directory service.
There's much to look forward to in the new version, according to the team blog.
The Samba file server is now fully cluster aware and is currently being extended to include the new SMB2 protocol and full Windows ACL support. "If you want to produce a clustered version of a CIFS file server, check out clustered Samba - it really is the only proven working product out there," the blog states.
Additionally, Samba plans to release a sample implementation of SMB2 in the forthcoming Samba 3.5.0 update. Microsoft introduced a new version of the CIFS protocol -- SMB2 -- in Windows 7.
This fall, five Samba4 developers worked hands on with Microsoft developers to enable Windows to establish a trust with a Samba 4 domain. After much work, they were able to demonstrate Samba 4 as a viable option as a peer domain controller in an Active Directory domain. This clearly shows the advanced nature of Active Directory support in Samba 4.
"This was the first time that Samba4 had hosted an AD domain that a Windows DC found sufficiently acceptable to replicate the whole directory, and be comfortable to set itself up as a peer domain controller," wrote Samba developer Andrew Bartlett in an October 2009 blog shortly after the demonstration. Samba 4 will be "able to host such domains alone or in partnership with Microsoft's Windows."
Of course, it will take time to merge the Samba code bases and iron out all of the Microsoft compatibility issues before release. But the team won't ship the Samba 4 code until it is ready.
"Once we have a merged code-base, we'll declare victory, ship Samba4 and have the biggest darn release party since Duke Nukem Forever shipped and revolutionized computer gaming," the team quips on the blog.
Meanwhile, the Samba team announced that it will move to a more predictable release schedule this year. The next version is Samba 3.5 and updates will follow every six months, the team promised.