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Using Samba

Using Samba

Robert Eckstein, David Collier-Brown, Peter Kelly
1st Edition November 1999
1-56592-449-5, Order Number: 4495
416 pages, $34.95

Previous: 4.3 Configuration File Options Chapter 4
Disk Shares
Next: 4.5 Disk Share Configuration

4.4 Server Configuration

Now it's time to begin configuring your Samba server. Let's introduce three basic configuration options that can appear in the [global] section of your smb.conf file:

	#  Server configuration parameters
	netbios name = HYDRA
	server string = Samba %v on (%L)
	workgroup = SIMPLE

This configuration file is pretty simple; it advertises the Samba server on a NBT network under the NetBIOS name hydra. In addition, the machine belongs to the workgroup SIMPLE and displays a description to clients that includes the Samba version number as well as the NetBIOS name of the Samba server.

If you had to enter encrypt passwords=yes in your earlier configuration file, you should do so here as well.

Go ahead and try this configuration file. Create a file named smb.conf under the /usr/local/samba/lib directory with the text listed above. Then reset the Samba server and use a Windows client to verify the results. Be sure that your Windows clients are in the SIMPLE workgroup as well. After clicking on the Network Neighborhood on a Windows client, you should see a window similar to Figure 4.2. (In this figure, phoenix and chimaera are our Windows clients.)

Figure 4.2: Network Neighborhood showing the Samba server

Figure 4.2

You can verify the server string by listing the details of the Network Neighborhood window (select the Details menu item under the View menu), at which point you should see a window similar to Figure 4.3.

Figure 4.3: Network Neighborhood details listing

Figure 4.3

If you were to click on the Hydra icon, a window should appear that shows the services that it provides. In this case, the window would be completely empty because there are no shares on the server yet.

4.4.1 Server Configuration Options

Table 4.3 summarizes the server configuration options introduced previously. Note that all three of these options are global in scope; in other words, they must appear in the [global] section of the configuration file.

Table 4.3: Server Configuration Options






netbios name


Sets the primary NetBIOS name of the Samba server.

Server DNS hostname


server string


Sets a descriptive string for the Samba server.

Samba %v




Sets the NetBIOS group of machines that the server belongs to.

Defined at compile time

Global netbios name

The netbios name option allows you to set the NetBIOS name of the server. For example:

netbios name = YORKVM1

The default value for this configuration option is the server's hostname; that is, the first part of its complete DNS machine name. For example, a machine with the DNS name would be given the NetBIOS name RUBY by default. While you can use this option to restate the machine's NetBIOS name in the configuration file (as we did previously), it is more commonly used to assign the Samba server a NetBIOS name other than its current DNS name. Remember that the name given must follow the rules for valid NetBIOS machine names as outlines in Chapter 1, Learning the Samba.

Changing the NetBIOS name of the server is not recommended unless you have a good reason. One such reason might be if the hostname of the machine is not unique because the LAN is divided over two or more DNS domains. For example, YORKVM1 is a good NetBIOS candidate for to differentiate it from, which has the same hostname but resides in a different DNS domain.

Another use of this option is for relocating SMB services from a dead or retired machine. For example, if SALES is the SMB server for the department, and it suddenly dies, you could immediately reset netbios name = SALES on a backup Samba machine that's taking over for it. Users won't have to change their drive mappings to a different machine; new connections to SALES will simply go to the new machine. server string

The server string parameter defines a comment string that will appear next to the server name in both the Network Neighborhood (when shown with the Details menu) and the comment entry of the Microsoft Windows print manager. You can use the standard variables to provide information in the description. For example, our entry earlier was:

	server string = Samba %v on (%h)

The default for this option simply presents the current version of Samba and is equivalent to:

server string = Samba %v workgroup

The workgroup parameter sets the current workgroup where the Samba server will advertise itself. Clients that wish to access shares on the Samba server should be on the same NetBIOS workgroup. Remember that workgroups are really just NetBIOS group names, and must follow the standard NetBIOS naming conventions outlined in Chapter 1. For example:

	workgroup = SIMPLE

The default option for this parameter is set at compile time. If the entry is not changed in the makefile, it will be WORKGROUP. Because this tends to be the workgroup name of every unconfigured NetBIOS network, we recommend that you always set your workgroup name in the Samba configuration file.[ 2]

[2] We should also mention that it is an inherently bad idea to have a workgroup that shares the same name as a server.

Previous: 4.3 Configuration File Options Next: 4.5 Disk Share Configuration
4.3 Configuration File Options Book Index 4.5 Disk Share Configuration

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