1.8. Future Research in Samba 4.0
Samba 4.0 is an ambitous research project, taken up by Samba developers around the time that Samba 3.0.0 was released (in late 2003), to address a desire for newer features that were believed to be extremely hard to achieve in the Samba 3.0 code base. Examples of these projects of these items include:
At the time of writing, a proof-of-concept AD implementation has been completed, with the exception of the directory replication protocol.
There has been a great deal of confusion about the relationship between Samba 3.0 and Samba 4. Both source code repositories are part of the Samba project. Samba 3.0 is the current production branch, and Samba 4 is the research branch, which is focused on new functionality that will be integrated into production releases once it has matured.
The current question system administrators ask most often is "When will Samba 4 be released?" In our opinion, it is helpful to view Samba 4 as a blueprint of what project leaders want Samba to be. Of course, blueprints often require a prototype, so developers will release technical previews of the Samba 4 branch from time to time as a way to expose designs to a wider audience. Some prototypes succeed; others are thrown away. At some point, the production releases of Samba will look like the working prototypes. Whether this occurs gradually or all at once is yet to be seen.
Pieces of Samba 4 have already been released as production quality services. For example, the samba4wins project (http://enterprisesamba.org) provides a WINS server that supports the Microsoft WINS replication protocol. Other pieces, such as Samba 4's memory management library, are shipping in Samba 3.0 today. It's likely that Samba 4 in whole or in part will continue to coexist with Samba 3.0 for several years to come. No one can accurately predict which release will contain the combined features of Samba 3.0 and technology of Samba 4.
For the latest in development and release news, check the Samba news site (http://news.samba.org), available mailing lists hosted at https://lists.samba.org, and community topics at http://wiki.samba.org.