Samba 4 is now slated for release on November 27

After a multi-year effort, the much anticipated Samba 4.0 platform, with new support for Microsoft Active Directory, is now slated for release on November 27
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

Samba 4.0 – complete with a Microsoft-compatible Active Directory controller – is now slated for release on November 27 -- for real.  

The fourth release candidate of the open source  platform was released today and the fifth release candidate is slated for release on November 13. If all goes well, the final version is expected to be released by the end of November, one Samba project manager said today.

 "Samba 4.0.0rc4 has just been released,” wrote Karolin Seeger, a Samba release manager in an email distributed today. “As there are some outstanding bugs, I would like to propose to ship Samba 4.0.0rc5 on Tuesday, November 13 and to go ahead with the final release on Tuesday, November 27."

The most important new feature is support for the Active Directory logon and administration protocols that support Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac OSX clients as well as support for Group Policy definitions. Active Directory was introduced with Microsoft's Windows 2000 server platform.

It's tough to exaggerate the importance of this interoperability platform, which provides file and print services to many SMB/CIFS clients and has been under development for more than eight years. For instance, Microsoft has contributed to Samba and VMware uses Samba code in its virtualization platform.

It's unclear if the open source SMB file/printer server will meet the Nov 27 milestone, but it certainly looks like it will be available by the end of the year. And that's a big gift.

In a paper that's now more than seven years old, one key Samba developer summed it up this way:

"Active Directory forms the heart of Microsoft’s modern network architecture, and is the heart of many corporate networks. Producing a compatible product is important, if the Samba project is to remain relevant into the future,” Andrew Bartlett, a key Samba developer, wrote in 2005.

The open source project also stated that Samba 4 release is also slated to include :

  • New 'full coverage' testsuites
  • Full NTFS semantics for sharing backends
  • An internal LDAP server, with AD semantics
  • An internal Kerberos server, including PAC support
  • An internal DNS server with support for dynamic      updating
  • Bind9 integration for AD DNS support (with DLS)
  • Fully asynchronous internals
  • Flexible process models
  • Better scalability from micro to very large installations
  • New RPC infrastructure (PIDL)
  • A flexible database architecture (LDB)
  • Python support - used extensively for client and management tools
  • Generic security subsystem (GENSEC)
  • Over 50% auto-generated code

As close to completion as it is, Samba release managers were careful to point out that release candidate 4 is not designed for production use.

"This is *not* intended for production environments and is designed for testing purposes only," today's release notes said.  "Samba 4.0 will be the next version of the Samba suite and incorporates all the technology found in both the Samba4 series and the stable 3.x series. The primary additional features over Samba 3.6 are support for the Active Directory logon protocols used by Windows 2000 and above."
"This release contains the best of all of Samba's technology parts, both a file server (that you can reasonably expect
to upgrade existing Samba 3.x releases to) and the AD domain controller work previously known as 'samba4'.
If you are upgrading, or looking to develop, test or deploy Samba 4.0 releases candidates, you should backup all configuration and data."

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