What is samba?

Table of Contents

Samba is a networking protocol that provides file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients.

The Samba project was started at the end of 1992 by Andrew Tridgell. The goal of the project was to provide an open source server that could interoperate with Windows NT servers. It has since grown into a very popular tool for sharing files and printers over a network, especially in business environments with mixed operating systems.

As one might expect, networks are often composed of heterogeneous systems. Creating an Ubuntu-only network would certainly be fun, but many networks have both Ubuntu- and Microsoft Windows systems. This section of the Samba guide explains how to configure your Ubuntu Server for sharing network resources with Windows PCs. For example, you would include shares from Linux-only users and groups.

Samba Introduction #

You should have been successful at network integration with Windows clients when you provide and integrate standard services for a Windows environment. Such services assist the sharing of data and information about computers and users involved in networks, with 3 main categories:

  • File and Printer Sharing Services. A lot of people use SMB to share files on their network. It simplifies their file storage and sharing
  • Directory Services. Sharing information about your computers and users with vital technologies like LDAP and Active Directory is an important step in securing your network.
  • Authentication and Access. When you establish your computer’s identify, the operating system implements security policies, such as file permissions and Kerberos authentication to keep certain information safe.

Thankfully, your Ubuntu system can offer all such services to Windows clients and let them share network resources. The Samba suite of SMB server apps and tools is one of the key pieces of software your Ubuntu system provides for Windows networking.

In this portion of the Samba book, we’ll go through some of the most typical Samba use cases and how to install and set up the required packages. On the Samba website, you can get more comprehensive documentation and details about Samba.

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