Doing the Samba.

Feb 22

Its all over the TV these days. Celebrities trying to impress the crowds (and revitalise their dwindling careers) by doing some ballroom dancing. To me this kind of entertainment is enough to wish for some king of sensory failure of my higher brain functions, but luckily i can just zap away when it gets too much. As for my own attempts at dancing .. they have not been very successful so far. I have trodded on the virtual dancefloor and have been spinning my feet in a futile attempt to learn another dance : The Samba.

No of course not the real "dance" but the SAMBA server on Linux. Filesharing under Windows is based upon the SMB protocol, its open source counterpart is the SMB or SAMBA server.  A way to turn a Linux box into a file server where Windows clients can logon to. All pretty great, if you remember our ‘Feisty for the Family’ series, we managed to get some simple filesharing up and running using a Linux box, webmin and some windows clients. If you use webmin its pretty easy, click to install Samba, Click to install shares, click to add some users and you are basically done. Who said Linux was hard.

So far no problem, unless you try do to things that are a little harder, like turning that Samba box into a Windows Domain Controller. This means that the "linux" box recognizes all the users that log onto the system and gives them the appropriate rights. Instead of having to configure every user manually on the Windows clients, you create them on the Samba PDC (primary domain controller) and let him handle it.

Thats where the problem lies. Trying to let Linux machines do Windows things, works, but the documentation is very very hard to find and damn complicated if you are not an advanced Linux user. I have been wrestling through howto’s, fighting with manuals, chatting on IRC channels… and all in all it gets more complicated by the minute. There are a few typical things that still exist in the Linux community and that really need to change : For one : If you ask a question about letting Linux do Windows things, some smart asses still go like " Well don’t use Windows then " Thats not the real world now is it. The one and only way to get more Linux out there is to have it exist side by side with Windows. The other pain that is still out there is the "binary" way manuals are written. Sometimes a manual is very nice and easy to follow. Yet sometimes it looks like its been written by some highbrow Linux programmer with much better things to do then to write manuals for us noobs, so he just scrabbles down some commands and some endless code on a strip of paper and tells you to do "man – the command you dont understand because he did not explain it right" whenever you have a problem.

But I have decided not to give up on the whole thing and valiantly continue to stump my toe against the next hurdle, learning more and understanding more about linux in the process. Right up to the point where I CAN … do the Samba.

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