Chapter 5. Managing a NetBIOS Network with Samba

Samba makes a fine file and print server for Windows clients, as described in the previous chapter. Samba’s capabilities go further than that, though; the software can also take on many of the ancillary roles on a NetBIOS LAN. Many of these duties are associated with NT domain controllers. Domain controllers are basically centralized logon databases for systems on a NetBIOS network; servers consult the domain controller when asked to authenticate users. This topic is first up in this chapter. A couple of additional roles that are often associated with domain controllers, but can exist even in a nondomain configuration, are described next: providing NetBIOS name resolution services and collecting browse lists for delivery to clients. Finally, this chapter concludes with a look at configuring Windows clients to use these features of a Samba server.


A domain controller can serve as an authentication tool for both Windows and Linux clients. In fact, you can use a Linux computer running Samba as an authentication server for other Linux computers. To do so, you must configure the Samba domain controller features, as described in Section 5.1; the Linux client configuration is described in Chapter 7.

Linux can make an excellent NT domain controller on a Windows network for many of the same reasons that Linux is an excellent platform for other network roles: Linux is reliable, less vulnerable to security problems than Windows, and low ...

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