Samba4 release pushed back to late 2010, 2011?

Samba4 release pushed back to late 2010, 2011?

Summary: 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.


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.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Browser, CXO, Software

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  • MS still holding back?

    Jeremy just added a comment to his blog article here that MS hasn't come through on their promise to open talks to add Unix extensions to SMB2. Perhaps that's one reason for the delay?

    "[i]If Microsoft make good on their promise to open up the discussions on adding the UNIX extensions into SMB2 then we'll be able to do a better job UNIX -> UNIX by not having to encode filenames into UCS2 <--> utf8 and back, we'll just make everything utf8 on the wire. Other than that SMB/CIFS isn't *too* bad for mapping UNIX to UNIX semantics.[/i]"

    MS may be more open than in the past, but old habits die hard...
    • SMB2

      Is in no way shape or form a requirement for
      Active Directory nor Samba 4 (one should
      think). Heck, XP and Server 2003 still do not
      support SMB2 and they have no problems in
      domains. You can also turn off SMB2 on Vista, 7
      or Server2008 and they will all just fall back
      to SMB.

      If Microsoft made a promise and now goes back
      on it, shame on them. But it cannot explain the
    • Not holding back.

      No, that's nothing to do with the documentation program mandated by the courts. The UNIX extensions to SMB2 are an extension project by the community, not part of Microsoft's specs. We're hoping Microsoft will want to participate that's all.

      • Thanks for the clarification, Jeremy

        Honest questions:

        What exactly is it you want SMB2 to do with the
        Unix extensions. Does SMB2 cater for such

        What (if any) you you think is the benefit of
        • Unix extensions

          We want to add the capabilities to SMB2 that we did for SMB1. E.g. the ability to do a UNIX stat, get manage POSIX ACLs and symlinks, do unix style path operations (immediate removal from the namespace on delete).

          SMB2 really doesn't offer much benefit over SMB1, other than Microsoft made fixed up the operations in their SMB2 client to do things like pipelined read/writes etc. Things they could have done in their SMB1 client redirector code (we did them in the Samba code) but chose not to.

          See Volker's presentation here:

          for details.

  • Damn pity

    Samba4 is nice. Why couldn't they just release an
    "incompatible" (with Samba3) and let us decide whether to
    deploy it or not?
    • No one is stopping you.

      You can always download the "alpha" releases of just the Samba4 tree which is undergoing active development and deploy these. That's the power of Free Software. You can decide what you want to do with it.

      • In an enterprise setting

        "alpha" has next to no chance of getting past the
        QA and/or operations.

        That is why a "final" stamp would have helped -
        even if it came with all kinds of disclaimers.
        • Enterprise setting.

          Yes I know. But that "final" stamp needs us to do all sorts of QA, which is why we're taking the approach mentioned in the blog.

          • Standalone AD authentication services server

            Why not just release a lightweight standalone AD
            authentication services server which does not
            serve files and does nothing other than AD

            This can then be used by any number of Windows
            and Samba 3 servers, including NAS boxes to
            actually serve files, and by Windows and Linux
            clients to authenticate off.

            Would't this approach save time on Samba 3/4
            integration work and be more flexible in use (as
            a lightweight authentication application it can
            be integrated by default into all Linux/Unix
            machines as a standard authentication method
            option along with passwd file, nis, ldap, etc)?
  • samba4 made easy

    we are currently using samba4 in many organizations ranging from 5 to several thousand users. we are using the open source management package called resara ( well worth a look.