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Doing the Samba

Windows based machines use the SMB protocol to share files, printers and

communicate. This is a proprietary protocol and Windows doesn't integrate

as well with non-Windows networks using other protocols. It is possible to

share files between PC's running Linux and Windows using FTP or HTTP but

it isn't as transparent a process. Print services are also a problem.

Samba is a terrific software that bridges the gap between Linux and

Windows PC's on the network. File sharing and print services are a lot

more transparent though it's a lot easier from the Windows end.

Where to get Samba?

Samba is available at www.samba.org or your local mirror. Most

distributions already come with the Samba binaries on the cd so you should

look there first. At the web-site you will find both the source and the

binaries for download. Samba has also been ported to OS/2, Amiga and VMS

so even if you are on a non-Unix system then you need not worry. The

latest version as of writing this article is 2.0.7 though I have used

version 2.0.6 here in this article. Download and install and then check

out the example smb.conf files in the examples directory. If you

downloaded the source code then it should be under a documentation

directory. I used the RPM off my Red Hat 6.2 CD and it placed the example

smb.conf file in the following directory:


This is quite a long smb.conf file and you can generally get away with a

much smaller and simpler configuration file. But it is a good place to

start with because most of the common options and a short description of

each option is given.


All the configuration of Samba is contained in the file smb.conf which can

be found in /etc. The Samba configuration is divided into various sections

or shares. Each section begins with a share name enclosed between square

brackets ( [Public] or [Noname] ) and under each section are defined the

options. Each option is followed by '=' after which the option parameters

are given. The parameters may be 'yes','no', or some user-defined parameter.

There are quite a few parameters and options in Samba but not all of them

are required to get you started.

I use only a basic smb.conf which is given below.


workgroup = workgroup

server string = Samba is fantastic