WHAT IS SMB?
The very short answer is that it is the protocol by which a lot of
PC-related machines share files and printers and other informatiuon
such as lists of available files and printers. Operating systems that
support this natively include Windows NT, OS/2, and Linux and add on
packages that achieve the same thing are available for DOS, Windows,
VMS, Unix of all kinds, MVS, and more. Apple Macs and some Web Browsers
can speak this protocol as well. Alternatives to SMB include
Netware, NFS, Appletalk, Banyan Vines, Decnet etc; many of these have
advantages but none are both public specifications and widely
implemented in desktop machines by default.
The Common Internet Filesystem (CIFS) is what the new SMB initiative
is called. For details watch
WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO USE SMB?
- Many people want to integrate their Microsoft or IBM style desktop
machines with their Unix or VMS (etc) servers.
- Others want to integrate their Microsoft (etc) servers with Unix
or VMS (etc) servers. This is a different problem to integrating
- Others want to replace protocols like NFS, DecNet and Novell NCP,
especially when used with PCs.
WHAT CAN SAMBA DO?
Here is a very short list of what samba includes, and what it does. For
many networks this can be simply summarised by "Samba provides a complete
replacement for Windows NT, Warp, NFS or Netware servers."
For a much better overview have a look at the web site at
and browse the user survey.
- a SMB server, to provide Windows NT and LAN Manager-style file and print
services to SMB clients such as Windows 95, Warp Server, smbfs and others.
- a NetBIOS (rfc1001/1002) nameserver, which amongst other things gives
browsing support. Samba can be the master browser on your LAN if you wish.
- a ftp-like SMB client so you can access PC resources (disks and
printers) from 1, Netware and other operating systems
- a tar extension to the client for backing up PCs
- limited command-line tool that supports some of the NT administrative
functionality, which can be used on Samba, NT workstation and NT server.
Related packages include:
- smbfs, a linux-only filesystem allowing you to mount remote SMB
filesystems from PCs on your linux box. This is included as standard with
Linux 2.0 and later.
- tcpdump-smb, a extension to tcpdump to allow you to investigate SMB
networking problems over netbeui and tcp/ip.
- smblib, a library of smb functions which are designed to make it
easy to smb-ise any particular application. See
If you want to contribute to the development of the software then
please join the mailing list. The Samba team accepts patches
(preferably in "diff -u" format, see docs/BUGS.txt for more details)
and are always glad to receive feedback or suggestions to the address
firstname.lastname@example.org. We have recently put a new bug tracking
system into place which should help the throughput quite a lot. You
can also get the Samba sourcecode straight from the CVS tree - see
You could also send hardware/software/money/jewelry or pizza
vouchers directly to Andrew. The pizza vouchers would be especially
welcome, in fact there is a special field in the survey for people who
have paid up their pizza :-)
If you like a particular feature then look through the CVS change-log
(on the web at
) and see
who added it, then send them an email.
Remember that free software of this kind lives or dies by the response
we get. If noone tells us they like it then we will probably move onto
something else. However, as you can see from the user survey quite a lot of
people do seem to like it at the moment :-)
3 Ballow Crescent
There is quite a bit of documentation included with the package,
including man pages, and lots of .txt files with hints and useful
info. This is also available from the web page. There is a growing
collection of information under docs/faq; by the next release expect
this to be the default starting point.
A list of Samba documentation in languages other than English is
available on the web page.
If you would like to help with the documentation (and we _need_ help!)
then have a look at the mailing list samba-docs, archived at
There is a mailing list for discussion of Samba. To subscribe send
mail to email@example.com with a body of "subscribe samba Your Name"
Please do NOT send this request to the list alias instead.
To send mail to everyone on the list mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also an announcement mailing list where new versions are
announced. To subscribe send mail to email@example.com with a
body of "subscribe samba-announce Your Name". All announcements also
go to the samba list.
For details of other Samba mailing lists and for access to archives, see
You might also like to look at the usenet news group
comp.protocols.smb as it often contains lots of useful info and is
frequented by lots of Samba users. The newsgroup was initially setup
by people on the Samba mailing list. It is not, however, exclusive to
Samba, it is a forum for discussing the SMB protocol (which Samba
implements). The samba list is gatewayed to this newsgroup.
A Samba WWW site has been setup with lots of useful info. Connect to:
As well as general information and documentation, this also has searchable
archives of the mailing list and a user survey that shows who else is using
this package. Have you registered with the survey yet? :-)