Section 3.4. Setting Master Browser Options

3.4. Setting Master Browser Options

In order to handle local network browsers like the one shown in Figure 3-1, SMB/CIFS requires one computer to be designated a master browser. This computer collects data on the computers on the network and provides it to any computer that asks for the information. The clients then present the data to users in one form or another (Figure 3-1 being one example).

In the context of SMB/CIFS, a network browser is a tool that provides information about, and typically a way to access, SMB/CIFS file and printer shares. Typically, it's integrated into the OS's local file manager. In Windows, it's called either My Network Places or Network Neighborhood, depending on the version of Windows. SMB/CIFS browsers use different protocols from web browsers. Although some programs, such as the K Desktop Environment's (KDE's) Konqueror, can serve as both SMB/CIFS and web browsers, the two protocols are entirely unrelated.

In fact, two types of SMB/CIFS master browsers exist. A local master browser handles browsing tasks on a single subnet. A domain master browser helps integrate multiple subnets. The local master browser is selected automatically by the computers on a network using a process known as an election. Samba provides options that influence how it participates in elections; you can "rig" an election so that Samba wins or loses it, as you see fit. Domain master browser status is acquired based on server configuration, and Samba provides options to control this process, as well. Chapter 5 describes these parameters in more detail. For the moment, though, if you don't want Samba to acquire either type of master browser status, you should add the following parameters to your smb.conf file's [global] section:

domain master = No local master = No os level = 0 preferred master = No

In fact, the first two options should be sufficient to keep Samba from acquiring master browser status; the last two options simply provide added insurance, should you accidentally mis-set the local master parameter. Of course, on some networks you might want Samba to acquire local master browser status; to do so, set the following options:

local master = Yes os level = 33 preferred master = Yes

Configuring Samba to become a local master browser on a network on which browsing works fine may cause problems. If Samba acquires master browser duties over a working master browser, the result can be disruptions should that old system try to reacquire master browser status periodically. Each such attempt to reacquire master browser status will result in a temporary browsing outage. Likewise, network topology and other issues can cause problems when changing a master browser. If in doubt, configure Samba to not try to take on these duties.

    Linux in a Windows World
    Linux in a Windows World
    ISBN: 0596007582
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2005
    Pages: 152

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