New Samba targets Active Directory

New Samba targets Active Directory

Summary: A next-generation test version of the open source Samba file sharing software has been made available, with features emulating Microsoft's Active Directory ID management software. The popular Samba suite is an implementation of Microsoft's SMB (Server Message Block)/CIFS (Common Internet File System) protocol that allows other operating systems to emulate or interoperate with Windows for the purposes of sharing files or printing.

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TOPICS: Windows, SMBs
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A next-generation test version of the open source Samba file sharing software has been made available, with features emulating Microsoft's Active Directory ID management software.

The popular Samba suite is an implementation of Microsoft's SMB (Server Message Block)/CIFS (Common Internet File System) protocol that allows other operating systems to emulate or interoperate with Windows for the purposes of sharing files or printing.

Releasing a new version of the software today in conjunction with a speech on the subject by Australia-based Samba creator Andrew Tridgell at the Linux.conf.au conference in New Zealand, the team behind the software outlined its new features.

"Samba 4 supports the server-side of the Active Directory logon environment used by Windows 2000 and later, so we can do full domain join and domain logon operations with these clients," the group said in a statement on its Web site, noting this feature was "the main emphasis" for the new software.

"Our domain controller implementation contains our own built-in LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) server and Kerberos key distribution centre as well as the Samba 3-like logon services provided over CIFS," the statement continued.

The Samba developers noted their implementation of Kerberos correctly dealt with the "infamous Kerberos PAC (Privilege Access Certificate)" -- a data field in the Kerberos authentication protocol which attracted controversy when critics claimed that Microsoft's version tied users into its own version of Kerberos.

Other improvements include the integration of Samba's Web-based administration tool (SWAT), a new scripting interface which allows Javascript programs to interface with Samba's "internals", and new Virtual Filesystem (VFS) features.

Also, "the Samba 4 architecture is based around an LDAP-like database that can use a range of modular backends".

"We are aiming for Samba 4 to be a powerful front end to large directories," said the statement.

Homegrown hero?
One Linux enthusiast who saw Tridgell's Linux.conf.au speech enthused about it on his blog soon afterwards.

"The hall was packed for one of Australia's homegrown heroes," wrote Brisbane-based Joshua Wulf.

"The Vampire migration tool [employed to shift users from Windows to Samba] now has 'longer fangs' and can take over an Active Directory domain."

"Tridge demonstrated sucking the life out a Windows 2003 PDC [primary domain controller] in one click, importing all its user and machine information using SWAT."

"He then restarted [domain server] BIND on his Samba 4 server, changed the server role to PDC ... shut down the Windows PDC and then logged into the domain with an XP client using the new Samba 4 server as the PDC."

"This elicited suitable oohs and aahs from the audience," wrote Wulf.

However, the Samba team warned system administrators to be careful with the new software, which is dubbed a "technology preview" unsuitable for use on production systems.

"There is no printing support in the current release," the group's statement said.

"We recommend against upgrading any production servers from Samba 3 to Samba 4 at this stage."

"We expect that format changes will require that the user database be rebuilt from scratch a number of times before we make a final release, losing password data each time."

In addition, they warned the technology preview was not secure.

Topics: Windows, SMBs

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13 comments
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  • Windows 2003 PDC

    If you want to get picky about things there is no such thing as a Windows 2003 AD PDC - there is however a PDC emulator role :)
    anonymous
  • Innovation

    WOw, This is Open Source innovation at its best !
    Reimplementing protocols and services that have been available on a Windows server for over five years.
    How many more years before they catch up with a multi-master LDAP directory, DNS based location awareness, Group Policy, Encrypted File System.....
    anonymous
  • Most People Don't Know

    Unfortunately, many people who successfully work with Active Directory today are not familiar with the correct terminology. This has slowly grown to become a major problem across many Microsoft products and technologies. Most of the time when people refer to a PDC in the context of AD (especially when the forest is running in Native Mode), they don't even mean the PDC Emulator role. What they really mean is usually some combination of GC (Global Catalog) server, Schema Master role, and RID Master role. In this particular case, however, I think the Samba developers really do mean the PDC Emulator role. When they say that AD objects must still be created on a real Windows Server, I believe what they mean in technical terms is that Samba 4 does not implement the Schema Master, Domain Naming Master, RID Master roles. I would also guess that they haven't bothered to implement the Infrastructure Master role at this point. For single-domain forests which are not running Exchange 2000/2003, Samba 4 might be useful, but it is still missing quite a bit of AD functionality needed in enterprise environments.
    anonymous
  • No less 'innvoation' than Microsoft do

    Do your research. When did Novell Directory Services (NDS, now 'eDirectory') first support multi-master replication (that is, when was NetWare 4 released), full X.500 & LDAP support? This isn't invention, but it will provide a cheaper option for small sites who don't need all of Microsoft's AD (or Novell's eDirectory) features. Good on the Samba team for opening up Microsoft's proprietary protocols.
    anonymous
  • You are an idiot.

    Total idiot.

    'nuff said.
    anonymous
  • You are an idiot.

    Total idiot.

    'nuff said.
    anonymous
  • Re: Inovation

    The purpose of samba is to integrate whit windows machines not inovate.

    Linux has had encrypted filesystem capabilities (via loopbacks) long before windows. And as far as network filesystems goes has a lot more to chooze from including some heaavy duty cluster and SAN fs's.
    anonymous
  • To "You Anonymous Idiot" Caller

    He who writes such brave statements as to call another an "idiot" because this person obviously has more knowledge than yourself not to mention a better brain & mind not only proves this when ye swears his ignorance by speaking with small, small words of large vehemence but also shows his cowardice by not mentioning his name.

    So Anony-mouse, squeak forth or forever hold thy pee-wee alone in silence.
    alfielee@...
  • All good points

    Which further proves that the original innovation call was made by an utter ignoramus.
    anonymous
  • You're a peanut-brain too "Rex"

    Now tell me all about your alien abduction experience.

    Go on, I know you want to....
    anonymous
  • Samba AJAX web browser

    If you are looking to extend your network via an SSL connection, there is a PHP and AJAX application that implements this. http://www.sslbridge.com
    anonymous
  • innovation?

    "Reimplementing protocols and services that have been available on a Windows server for over five years. "

    First of all what services? LDAP has been available to *nix servers for over 9 years. File and printer sharing even longer then that. It's MS that has reinvented the wheel here.

    "How many more years before they catch up with a multi-master LDAP directory, DNS based location awareness, Group Policy, Encrypted File System....."

    Your assuming here that "other" operating systems and applications have to implement solutions using the same methodology Microsoft does. The reality is much the opposite. Most of these are not even legitimate standards. In fact, IMHO, much of what Microsoft comes up with is horrible, ooxml for instance. It got slapped down by the standards committees for the shoddy piece of work it was.

    What is happening here is Samba is picking up the work that MS refuses to do, and that is operating system inter-compatibility. That is the innovation. Try to get MS functioning with a technology that it doesn't endorse, good luck figuring out how to do that without using open source. I have to live with an MS SBS server at work, it does nothing for me be but restrict my options and cease innovation.
    anonymous
  • You do realize ...

    You do, of course, realize that Active Directory is nothing more than Microsoft's implementation of a proprietary LDAP right? and that LDAP has been around a lot longer on *NIX that MS? Also, you should read on NDS and its directory services they had for windows before MS created ADS.
    anonymous