Samba is an open source implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. It allows the networking of Microsoft Windows®, Linux, UNIX, and other operating systems together, enabling access to Windows-based file and printer shares. Samba's use of SMB allows it to appear as a Windows server to Windows clients.
The third major release of Samba, version 3.0.0, introduced numerous improvements from prior versions, including:
The ability to join an Active Directory domain by means of LDAP and Kerberos
Built in Unicode support for internationalization
Support for Microsoft Windows XP Professional client connections to Samba servers without needing local registry hacking
Two new documents developed by the Samba.org team, which include a 400+ page reference manual, and a 300+ page implementation and integration manual. For more information about these published titles, refer to Section 14.9.3 Related Books.
Samba is a powerful and versatile server application. Even seasoned system administrators must know its abilities and limitations before attempting installation and configuration.
What Samba can do:
Serve directory trees and printers to Linux, UNIX, and Windows clients
Assist in network browsing (with or without NetBIOS)
Authenticate Windows domain logins
Provide Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) name server resolution
Act as a Windows NT®-style Primary Domain Controller (PDC)
Act as a Backup Domain Controller (BDC) for a Samba-based PDC
Act as an Active Directory domain member server
Join a Windows NT/2000/2003 PDC
What Samba cannot do:
Act as a BDC for a Windows PDC (and vice versa)
Act as an Active Directory domain controller