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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

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4.8 Logging Configuration Options

Occasionally, we need to find out what Samba is up to. This is especially true when Samba is performing an unexpected action or is not performing at all. To find out this information, we need to check Samba's log files to see exactly why it did what it did.

Samba log files can be as brief or verbose as you like. Here is an example of what a Samba log file looks like:

[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/service.c:close_cnum(514)
  phoenix ( closed connection to service IPC$
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/connection.c:yield_connection(40)
  Yielding connection to IPC$
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/process.c:process_smb(615)
  Transaction 923 of length 49
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/process.c:switch_message(448)
  switch message SMBread (pid 467)
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] lib/doscalls.c:dos_ChDir(336)
  dos_ChDir to /home/samba
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/reply.c:reply_read(2199)
  read fnum=4207 num=2820 nread=2820
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/process.c:process_smb(615)
  Transaction 924 of length 55
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/process.c:switch_message(448)
  switch message SMBreadbraw (pid 467)
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/reply.c:reply_readbraw(2053)
  readbraw fnum=4207 start=130820 max=1276 min=0 nread=1276
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/process.c:process_smb(615)
  Transaction 925 of length 55
[1999/07/21 13:23:25, 3] smbd/process.c:switch_message(448)
  switch message SMBreadbraw (pid 467)                          

Many of these options are of use only to Samba programmers. However, we will go over the meaning of some of these entries in more detail in Chapter 9, Troubleshooting Samba.

Samba contains six options that allow users to describe how and where logging information should be written. Each of these options are global options and cannot appear inside a share definition. Here is an up-to-date configuration file that covers each of the share and logging options that we've seen so far:

	netbios name = HYDRA
	server string = Samba %v on (%I)
	workgroup = SIMPLE

	#  Networking configuration options
	hosts allow = 192.168.220. 134.213.233. localhost
	hosts deny =
	interfaces = \
	bind interfaces only = yes

	# Debug logging information
	log level = 2
	log file = /var/log/samba.log.%m
	max log size = 50
	debug timestamp = yes

	path = /home/samba/data
	browseable = yes
	guest ok = yes
	comment = Data Drive
	volume = Sample-Data-Drive
	writeable = yes

Here, we've added a custom log file that reports information up to debug level 2. This is a relatively light debugging level. The logging level ranges from 1 to 10, where level 1 provides only a small amount of information and level 10 provides a plethora of low-level information. Level 2 will provide us with useful debugging information without wasting disk space on our server. In practice, you should avoid using log levels greater than 3 unless you are programming Samba.

This file is located in the /var/log directory thanks to the log file configuration option. However, we can use variable substitution to create log files specifically for individual users or clients, such as with the %m variable in the following line:

log file = /usr/local/logs/samba.log.%m

Isolating the log messages can be invaluable in tracking down a network error if you know the problem is coming from a specific machine or user.

We've added another precaution to the log files: no one log file can exceed 50 kilobytes in size, as specified by the max log size option. If a log file exceeds this size, the contents are moved to a file with the same name but with the suffix .old appended. If the .old file already exists, it is overwritten and its contents are lost. The original file is cleared, waiting to receive new logging information. This prevents the hard drive from being overwhelmed with Samba log files during the life of our daemons.

For convenience, we have decided to leave the debug timestamp in the logs with the debug timestamp option, which is the default behavior. This will place a timestamp next to each message in the logging file. If we were not interested in this information, we could specify no for this option instead.

4.8.1 Using syslog

If you wish to use the system logger ( syslog ) in addition to or in place of the standard Samba logging file, Samba provides options for this as well. However, to use syslog, the first thing you will have to do is make sure that Samba was built with the configure --with-syslog option. See Chapter 2 for more information on configuring and compiling Samba.

Once that is done, you will need to configure your /etc/syslog.conf to accept logging information from Samba. If there is not already a daemon.* entry in the /etc/syslog.conf file, add the following:

daemon.*        /var/log/daemon.log

This specifies that any logging information from system daemons will be stored in the /var/log/daemon.log file. This is where the Samba information will be stored as well. From there, you can specify the following global option in your configuration file:

syslog = 2

This specifies that any logging messages with a level of 1 will be sent to both the syslog and the Samba logging files. (The mappings to syslog priorities are described in the upcoming section "syslog.") Let's assume that we set the regular log level option above to 4. Any logging messages with a level of 2, 3, or 4 will be sent to the Samba logging files, but not to the syslog. Only level 1 logging messages will be sent to both. If the syslog value exceeds the log level value, nothing will be written to the syslog.

If you want to specify that messages be sent only to syslog - and not to the standard Samba logging files - you can place this option in the configuration file:

syslog only = yes

If this is the case, any logging information above the number specified in the syslog option will be discarded, just like the log level option.

4.8.2 Logging Configuration Options

Table 4.7 lists each of the logging configuration options that Samba can use.

Table 4.7: Global Configuration Options






log file

string (fully-qualified filename)

Sets the name and location of the log file that Samba is to use. Uses standard variables.

Specified in Samba makefile


log level

(debug level)

numerical (0-10)

Sets the amount of log/debug messages that are sent to the log file. 0 is none, 3 is considerable.



max log size

numerical (size in KB)

Sets the maximum size of log file. After the log exceeds this size, the file will be renamed to .bak and a new log file started.




timestamp (timestamp logs)


If no, doesn't timestamp logs, making them easier to read during heavy debugging.




numerical (0-10)

Sets level of messages sent to syslog. Those levels below syslog level will be sent to the system logger.



syslog only


If yes, uses syslog entirely and sends no output to the standard Samba log files.


Global log file

On our server, Samba outputs log information to text files in the var subdirectory of the Samba home directory, as set by the makefile during the build. The log file option can be used to reset the name of the log file to another location. For example, to reset the name and location of the Samba log file to /usr/local/logs/samba.log, you could use the following:

	log file = /usr/local/logs/samba.log

You may use variable substitution to create log files specifically for individual users or clients.

You can override the default log file location using the -l command-line switch when either daemon is started. However, this does not override the log file option. If you do specify this parameter, initial logging information will be sent to the file specified after -l (or the default specified in the Samba makefile) until the daemons have processed the smb.conf file and know to redirect it to a new log file. log level

The log level option sets the amount of data to be logged. Normally this is left at 0 or 1. However, if you have a specific problem you may want to set it at 3, which provides the most useful debugging information you would need to track down a problem. Levels above 3 provide information that's primarily for the developers to use for chasing internal bugs, and slows down the server considerably. Therefore, we recommend that you avoid setting this option to anything above 3.

log file = /usr/local/logs/samba.log.%m
log level = 3 max log size

The max log size option sets the maximum size, in kilobytes, of the debugging log file that Samba keeps. When the log file exceeds this size, the current log file is renamed to add an .old extension (erasing any previous file with that name) and a new debugging log file is started with the original name. For example:

log file = /usr/local/logs/samba.log.%m
max log size = 1000

Here, if the size of any log file exceeds one megabyte in size, Samba renames the log file samba.log. machine-name .old and a new log file is generated. If there was a file there previously with the .old extension, Samba deletes it. We highly recommend setting this option in your configuration files because debug logging (even at lower levels) can covertly eat away at your available disk space. Using this option protects unwary administrators from suddenly discovering that most of their disk space has been swallowed up by a single Samba log file. ;debug timestamp or timestamp logs

If you happen to be debugging a network problem and you find that the date-stamp and timestamp information within the Samba log lines gets in the way, you can turn it off by giving either the timestamp logs or the debug timestamp option (they're synonymous) a value of no. For example, a regular Samba log file presents its output in the following form:

12/31/98 12:03:34 hydra ( connect to server network as user davecb

With a no value for this option, the output would appear without the datestamp or the timestamp:

hydra ( connect to server network as user davecb syslog

The syslog option causes Samba log messages to be sent to the Unix system logger. The type of log information to be sent is specified as the parameter for this argument. Like the log level option, it can be a number from 0 to 10. Logging information with a level less than the number specified will be sent to the system logger. However, debug logs equal to or above the syslog level, but less than log level, will still be sent to the standard Samba log files. To get around this, use the syslog only option. For example:

	log level = 3
	syslog = 1

With this, all logging information with a level of 0 would be sent to the standard Samba logs and the system logger, while information with levels 1, 2, and 3 would be sent only to the standard Samba logs. Levels above 3 are not logged at all. Note that all messages sent to the system logger are mapped to a priority level that the syslog process understands, as shown in Table 4.8. The default level is 1.

Table 4.8: Syslog Priority Conversion

Log Level

Syslog Priority









4 and above


If you wish to use syslog, you will have to run configure --with-syslog when compiling Samba, and you will need to configure your /etc/syslog.conf to suit. (See the section Section 4.8.1, Using syslog," earlier in this chapter.) syslog only

The syslog only option tells Samba not to use the regular logging files - the system logger only. To enable this, specify the following option in the global ection of the Samba configuration file:

	syslog only = yes 

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