Networking / Beginners


SAMBA is open source software used to provide Windows-like network services, such as file and printer sharing. SAMBA makes the UNIX-based box act like a Windows NT server, providing many services that an NT server provides over a network.

SAMBA is basically the UNIX version of Common Internet File System (CIFS), which is used by Microsoft to induce compatibility between the Windows NT and Windows 98 operating systems. SAMBA was originally designed and developed by Andrew Tridgell in 1992. It was called SAMBA because the name contained SMB, which is the underlying protocol it uses. SAMBA is now developed and maintained as an open source project under the guidance of Andrew Tridgell.

The official Web site of SAMBA is The goal of the SAMBA project is to monitor the changes done by Microsoft in CIFS and to provide the same services and features in SAMBA. Over the years, as has been proved through various real-world tests, SAMBA performs significantly better than Microsoft's CIFS implementations.

SAMBA Services

The various services provided by a SAMBA server are given in the following list:

  • File and Printer Sharing. File and printer sharing are the most widely used SAMBA services. These services make it very easy to retrieve files over the server or print through any printer attached to the network.
  • WINS Server. WINS server is a NetBIOS Name Server (NBNS) for Windows networks.
  • User Authentication and Authorization. Authentication of the user is done via passwords or domains. This is explained in detail later in this tutorial.
  • Browsing Support. NetBIOS Name Server is used by SAMBA, which gives the browsing support. SAMBA also can act as LAN's Master Browser.
  • FTP-like Options. Various resources from other operating systems can be accessed through its FTP-like SMB client feature.

Apart from these features, there are various administrative functions that can be performed by SAMBA, using tools discussed later in this tutorial. All communication in SAMBA is done primarily with the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.

SAMBA Servers

Two main servers are used by SAMBA:

  • nmbd. This server is the NetBIOS name server. The purpose of this server is to help in browsing resources over the network. The nmbd server also can act as a WINS server if required.
  • smbd. This server is the SMB server that is used mainly for user authentication and authorization and file- and printer-sharing. This is done using the SMB protocol.
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