Section 1.1. What Is Samba?

1.1. What Is Samba?

Samba is the brainchild of Andrew Tridgell, who started the project in 1991, while working with a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) software suite called Pathworks, created for connecting DEC VAX computers to computers made by other companies. Without knowing the significance of what he was doing, Andrew created a fileserver program for an odd protocol that was part of Pathworks. That protocol later turned out to be the Server Message Block (SMB), the predecessor to CIFS. A few years later, he expanded upon his custom-made SMB server and began distributing it as a free product on the Internet under the name "SMB Server." However, Andrew couldn't keep that nameit already belonged to another company's productso he tried the following Unix renaming approach:

 $ grep -i '^s.*m.*b.*' /usr/dict/words 

And the response was:

 salmonberry samba sawtimber scramble 

Thus, the name "Samba" was born. Today Samba is actively developed by a team of programmers distributed around the world.

One of the best ways to describe Samba is to explain some of the things that it can do. As previously mentioned, Samba implements the CIFS network protocol. By supporting this protocol, Samba enables computers running Unix-based operating systems to communicate with Microsoft Windows and other CIFS-enabled clients and servers. Some examples of common services offered by Samba are:

  • Share one or more directory trees

  • Provide a Distributed Filesystem (MS-DFS) namespace

  • Centrally manage printers, print settings, and their associated drivers for access from Windows clients

  • Assist clients with network browsing

  • Authenticate clients logging onto a Windows domain

  • Provide or assist with Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) name-server resolution

The Samba suite also includes client tools that allow users on a Unix system to access folders and printers that Windows systems and Samba servers offer on the network.

Samba's current stable release, version 3.0, revolves around three Unix daemons:


This daemon handles file and printer sharing and provides authentication and authorization for SMB clients.


This daemon handles Samba's NetBIOS name registration, implements a Microsoft-compatible NetBIOS Name Server (NBNS) service, also referred to a WINS server, and partcipates in browsing elections.


This daemon communicates with domain controllers for providing information such as the groups to which a user belongs. It also provides an interface to Windows' LanManager authentication schemes, commonly referred to as NTLM authentication, for Unix services other than Samba.

Using Samba
Using Samba: A File and Print Server for Linux, Unix & Mac OS X, 3rd Edition
ISBN: 0596007698
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 135 © 2008-2017.
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