As Linux becomes mainstream, does it really need to displace anything? Does it have to rudely replace stuff that already works? Can’t it work side-by-side with other operating systems, taking advantage of their strengths and obviating their shortcomings?
SAMBA, the Server Message Block networking tool already familiar to most Linux administrators, does just that, although it’s always been a problem child to feed and care for properly: Its man pages don’t really do its installation, option base and performance tuning characteristics justice. Grab a copy of this book, and you’ll be wearing the a Samba Wizard’s hat in no time.
Although I found the book a touch too Windows-centric, that’s the reality of the world Samba is usually installed into, and the book must reflect this.
The book, adopted by the members of the SAMBA team, takes the reader on a fast paced ride through the SAMBA system and its initial installation, complete configuration, and advanced performance tuning. The troubleshooting chapter alone makes this book an absolute must for the newbie sys-admin and a valuable reference for the experienced one. By carefully following it, a nagging problem was rapidly traced to a weird name-server conflict and then quickly resolved.
Starting with a description of SAMBA, what it provides and how it works, its major daemons and other important members of the networking suite are described before the book dives into each configuration option’s vagaries in detail.
Getting printers to work properly on any network is always a challenge. This book made it easy though: I set up an older HP laser printer as a network printer in no time by merely following the printer chapter.
Likewise, getting SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and an SSLProxy to function properly can be a daunting task to newbie and guru sysadmins alike. Using Samba provides an entire appendix to guide you through the risky shoals of SSL and Certificate usage. And it works.
This book answers some interesting questions regarding feature mapping from and to Windows and Linux. They’re not really compatible when you consider emulating some of Linux’s strengths across the network with a system like Windows. Two major differences come immediately to mind: security (Windows has no concept of “groups” for example) and name-mangling (how does an 8.3 filename file system bi-directionally transfer files with a 255 filename system anyway?) It can get pretty hairy. This book gives you a fighting chance.
Finally, getting SAMBA to perform many of the same feats as Microsoft’s Network Neighborhood (in essence a user-friendly GUI interface to Microsoft Networking) isn’t as difficult when you realize MS’s networking is Server Message Block based. A good GUI front end for SAMBA is available at: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~chadspen. It gives SAMBA some interesting additional *nix-only features, too. This book should be on every sysadmin’s bookshelf.
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