30.9 File and Print Services for Microsoft® Windows® Clients (Samba)

Contributed by Murray Stokely.

30.9.1 Overview

Samba is a popular open source software package that provides file and print services for Microsoft® Windows® clients. Such clients can connect to and use FreeBSD filespace as if it was a local disk drive, or FreeBSD printers as if they were local printers.

Samba software packages should be included on your FreeBSD installation media. If you did not install Samba when you first installed FreeBSD, then you can install it from the net/samba34 port or package.

30.9.2 Configuration

A default Samba configuration file is installed as /usr/local/share/examples/samba34/smb.conf.default. This file must be copied to /usr/local/etc/smb.conf and customized before Samba can be used.

The smb.conf file contains runtime configuration information for Samba, such as definitions of the printers and “file system shares” that you would like to share with Windows clients. The Samba package includes a web based tool called swat which provides a simple way of configuring the smb.conf file. Using the Samba Web Administration Tool (SWAT)

The Samba Web Administration Tool (SWAT) runs as a daemon from inetd. Therefore, inetd must be enabled as shown in Section 30.2, and the following line in /etc/inetd.conf should be uncommented before swat can be used to configure Samba:

swat   stream  tcp     nowait/400      root    /usr/local/sbin/swat    swat

As explained in Example 30-1, the inetd configuration must be reloaded after this configuration file is changed.

Once swat has been enabled in inetd.conf, you can use a browser to connect to http://localhost:901. You will first have to log on with the system root account.

Once you have successfully logged on to the main Samba configuration page, you can browse the system documentation, or begin by clicking on the Globals tab. The Globals section corresponds to the variables that are set in the [global] section of /usr/local/etc/smb.conf. Global Settings

Whether you are using swat or editing /usr/local/etc/smb.conf directly, the first directives you are likely to encounter when configuring Samba are:


NT Domain-Name or Workgroup-Name for the computers that will be accessing this server.

netbios name

This sets the NetBIOS name by which a Samba server is known. By default it is the same as the first component of the host's DNS name.

server string

This sets the string that will be displayed with the net view command and some other networking tools that seek to display descriptive text about the server. Security Settings

Two of the most important settings in /usr/local/etc/smb.conf are the security model chosen, and the backend password format for client users. The following directives control these options:


The two most common options here are security = share and security = user. If your clients use usernames that are the same as their usernames on your FreeBSD machine then you will want to use user level security. This is the default security policy and it requires clients to first log on before they can access shared resources.

In share level security, client do not need to log onto the server with a valid username and password before attempting to connect to a shared resource. This was the default security model for older versions of Samba.

passdb backend

Samba has several different backend authentication models. You can authenticate clients with LDAP, NIS+, a SQL database, or a modified password file. The default authentication method is smbpasswd, and that is all that will be covered here.

Assuming that the default smbpasswd backend is used, the /usr/local/etc/samba/smbpasswd file must be created to allow Samba to authenticate clients. If you would like to give your UNIX® user accounts access from Windows clients, use the following command:

# smbpasswd -a username

Note: The recommended backend is now tdbsam, and the following command should be used to add user accounts:

# pdbedit -a -u username

Please see the Official Samba HOWTO for additional information about configuration options. With the basics outlined here, you should have everything you need to start running Samba.

30.9.3 Starting Samba

The net/samba34 port adds a new startup script, which can be used to control Samba. To enable this script, so that it can be used for example to start, stop or restart Samba, add the following line to the /etc/rc.conf file:


Or, for fine grain control:


Note: This will also configure Samba to automatically start at system boot time.

It is possible then to start Samba at any time by typing:

# service samba start
Starting SAMBA: removing stale tdbs :
Starting nmbd.
Starting smbd.

Please refer to Section 12.7 for more information about using rc scripts.

Samba actually consists of three separate daemons. You should see that both the nmbd and smbd daemons are started by the samba script. If you enabled winbind name resolution services in smb.conf, then you will also see that the winbindd daemon is started.

You can stop Samba at any time by typing :

# service samba stop

Samba is a complex software suite with functionality that allows broad integration with Microsoft Windows networks. For more information about functionality beyond the basic installation described here, please see http://www.samba.org.