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Samba Update

Is there life after Samba 3.0? Absolutely!

It's fascinating that so much has happened since the last Samba Update. To those of us close to the action it seems that development just continues at a steady pace. This edition of the Samba Update update reports on the roadmap for Samba-3, the decisions made at the SambaXP Conference, and the exciting new documentation for Samba-3.

Roadmap and SambaXP Conference Update

The latest patch release of the 3.0 code base, Samba 3.0.4, is available for download from www.samba.org. This is the latest stable release of Samba. This is good news, as it paves the way for the next feature update in the 3.x series, one that many will welcome with open arms.

Meanwhile, work on Samba-4 is moving ahead at a furious pace, causing some to wonder how long the life cycle for the 3.x series may be. Samba users can relax - there's no need to fear an early demise of Samba-3. While work on Samba-4 is moving along rapidly, many features will be back-ported to the Samba-3 series, which will ensure that the magnitude of the technology hurdle is manageable. During the life of Samba-2.2, many Samba-3 features were back-ported in order to maintain momentum and to ensure that users of stable releases could enjoy interoperability benefits derived from Samba-3 development work. The same will happen now with Samba-3. Samba-4 will likely remain in the technology incubator for another12 months, and release timing for it is not likely to be announced before then.

The sambaXPerience

Much of the Samba-Team recently met at the SambaXP Conference in Goettingen, Germany. This is an annual event at which the team reviews the progress that's being made in key areas, decides what must happen to keep Samba users up to date, determines which areas need to receive special action or focus, and reviews the assignment of tasks to help keep the increasingly complex Samba project on track. You may wish to visit the SambaXP Web site at www.sambaxp.org, where you can access many of the presentations that were given and obtain insight into key issues from both user and development perspectives.

It was during the SambaXP Conference that the code tree was moved from CVS to the distributed code management system known as "Subversion." This provided an opportunity to rationalize the various branches. The current Subversion branches are:

  • SAMBA_3_0: Current Samba-3.x development
  • SAMBA_3_0_RELEASE: The stable release branch
  • Trunk: Previously known as CVS branch HEAD
  • SAMBA_4_0: The next generation

Development Update

Samba-2.2 code has been completely retired as all development work has now ceased on this branch. Samba-3.0 has earned its merit badge and is now recognized as the stable release for general use. Samba-3.0.3 should be the final bug fix update, after which the 3.0 tree will be declared to be in maintenance-only mode.

Features that are new to Samba-3.0.3 include:

  • Storing DOS attributes in Extended Attributes (EA)
  • EA Support for OS/2 and Mac OS X
  • Password lockout support on a Samba Domain Controller
  • Support for nested groups (Windows local groups)
The development branch will soon be called Samba-3.1.x. At release this tree will be named Samba-3.2. Current thinking is that the back-porting of Samba-4 features may be completed around June or July 2004. Projected features include:
  • An updated smb client library (smbclient, smbtorture, etc.)
  • Introduction of an ldb database that will unify the interface for passdb back ends
  • Improvements in schannel support
  • An IDL-based rpc client library
Other features being considered for this release include:
  • Full Windows NT ACLs compatibility
  • Full MS Windows NT4 PDC/BDC interoperability
  • Support for NT privileges
  • A new application programming interface for NT registry support
  • Improvements in internationalization support
  • LDAP directory services for configuration
  • Redesign of user and group account management
As you can see from this, there clearly is life after Samba-3.0. In the next update I will report on progress that is being made on Samba-3.1.x, so stay tuned.

Documentation Update

On April 5, 2004, the Samba documentation code tree was also migrated from CVS to Subversion. At the same time, the entire text of the book The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide was committed to the public code tree. This commit means that the text of the Samba-HOWTO-Collection is now the same as the book published by Prentice Hall PTR.

On this same day, an exciting new book, Samba-3 by Example was released by Prentice Hall PTR. This book is the answer to the flood of requests from readers of Samba-HOWTO-Collection. Many requests were received for example smb.conf configuration files. A detailed survey was conducted to identify how to best present this information - the finding was that this information is most valuable if presented together with a detailed description of the nature of the problem being solved.

Samba-3 by Example documents a range of real networking problems and the design of the Samba-based solution, and provides detailed step-by-step implementation guidance that takes over where the installation of a Linux system leaves off. This is a book that every Windows network administrator can benefit from. It includes detailed configuration procedures to implement the full network solution covering DHCP, DNS, Samba, OpenLDAP, management, printing, Windows XP Professional desktop lock-down with roaming profiles that uses folder redirection, and much more. The book includes chapters on migration from Windows NT4 to Samba-3, integration with MS Windows Active Directory, integration of the SQUID proxy server into a Samba network, and much more.

Each chapter summarizes information covered and concludes with a set of questions and answers that help to explain some of the key issues covered.

Samba-3 by Example is available from the Samba Web site as the Samba-Guide. Those who purchase the book will find it includes a CD-ROM that contains all configuration files used in the book as well as some very useful tools. It includes RPM packages for Samba-3.0.2, although it is recommended that you check with your Linux vendor for more recent updates.

Until next time, enjoy Samba!

More Stories By John Terpstra

John Terpstra is a cofounder of the Samba-Team. He is heavily involved in creating the strategy behind Samba and plays a central role in answering user questions and writing the resulting documentation. He is also a full-time consultant providing business process and mentoring services.

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