With Samba, you can make your Linux computer a part of a Microsoft-based network. In this chapter, you ll learn how to configure Samba as a client and as a server on a network of Microsoft Windows computers.
Computers with various Microsoft operating systems can communicate with each other using the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. When a Microsoft operating system shares files or printers on a TCP/IP network, it uses the Common Internet File System (CIFS). Samba is the way a Linux computer communicates with SMB and CIFS.
Samba is a heterogeneous service. Once you ve configured Samba, other Microsoft Windows computers won t be able to tell the difference. Like CUPS from Chapter 25 , Samba includes its own web-based configuration utility, SWAT.
You can use Samba packages to configure your Linux computer as a server or a client, and then connect to or share directories and printers. As a Samba client, you can also connect to a shared Microsoft directory in a terminal mode that looks like a text-based FTP connection.
The main Samba configuration file is /etc/samba/smb.conf . Many Linux administrators configure it directly in a text editor, and you can learn how to do the same to share directories and printers from your Linux computer. It s easy to test and troubleshoot the changes you make to smb.conf .
Samba features two GUI configuration tools. SWAT (Samba Web Administration Tool) is a full-featured , browser-based tool available through TCP/IP port 901. Although simpler, the redhat-config-samba tool can help you configure basic settings for your Samba server and shared directories. This chapter covers the following topics:
Bridging the gap between Linux and Microsoft Windows
Configuring Samba as a client
Understanding the Samba configuration file
Managing Samba users
Exploring the redhat-config-samba alternative