Introduction to Samba

The Samba package provides file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients and Windows networking to Linux clients. Samba can also be configured as a Windows Domain Controller replacement, a file/print server acting as a member of a Windows Active Directory domain and a NetBIOS (RFC1001/1002) nameserver (which among other things provides LAN browsing support).

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS 12.1 platform.

Package Information

Samba Dependencies


GnuTLS-3.8.3, jansson-2.14, JSON-4.10, libtirpc-1.3.4, Parse-Yapp-1.21, and rpcsvc-proto-1.4.4



Avahi-0.8, BIND-9.18.24, Cups-2.4.7, Cyrus SASL-2.1.28, GDB-14.1, git-2.44.0, GnuPG-2.4.4 (required for ADS and the test suite), libaio-0.3.113, libarchive-3.7.2 (for tar in smbclient), libcap-2.69 with PAM, libgcrypt-1.10.3, libnsl-2.0.1, libunwind-1.6.2, lmdb-0.9.31, Markdown-3.4.1, MIT Kerberos V5-1.21.2, nss-3.98, popt-1.19, Talloc-2.4.2 (included), Vala-0.56.14, Valgrind-3.22.0 (optionally used by the test suite), xfsprogs-6.6.0, cmocka, cryptography, ctdb (included), cwrap, dnspython, FAM, Gamin, GlusterFS, Heimdal (included), iso8601, ldb (included), OpenAFS, poetry-core (required for ADS), pyasn1, tevent (included), tdb (included), and tracker-2

Optional (for the Developer Test Suite)

Install in listed order: six-1.16.0, pytest-8.0.0, argparse, testtools, testscenarios, and python-subunit

Editor Notes:

Installation of Samba

To support the test suite, set up a Python virtual environment for some Python modules out of the scope of BLFS:

python3 -m venv pyvenv &&
./pyvenv/bin/pip3 install cryptography pyasn1 iso8601

Install Samba by running the following commands:

PYTHON=$PWD/pyvenv/bin/python3             \
./configure                                \
    --prefix=/usr                          \
    --sysconfdir=/etc                      \
    --localstatedir=/var                   \
    --with-piddir=/run/samba               \
    --with-pammodulesdir=/usr/lib/security \
    --enable-fhs                           \
    --without-ad-dc                        \
    --enable-selftest                      &&

To test the results, issue: PATH=$PWD/pyvenv/bin:$PATH make quicktest. The test suite will produce lines that look like failures, but these are innocuous. The last few lines of output should report "ALL OK" for a good test run. A summary of any failures can be found in ./st/summary.



Additionally, developer test suites are available. If you've installed the optional python modules above in the Python virtual environment for building this package, you can run these tests with make test. It is not recommended for the average builder at around 290 SBU and over a gigabyte of disk space, and you should expect ~73 errors and ~30 failures from the 3000+ tests.

Fix hard coded paths to Python 3 interpreter:

sed '1s@^.*$@#!/usr/bin/python3@' \
    -i ./bin/default/source4/scripting/bin/*.inst

If upgrading from an old version of samba, as the root user, remove the old Python support files to prevent some issues:

rm -rf /usr/lib/python3.12/site-packages/samba

Still as the root user, install the package:

make install &&

install -v -m644    examples/smb.conf.default /etc/samba &&

sed -e "s;log file =.*;log file = /var/log/samba/%m.log;" \
    -e "s;path = /usr/spool/samba;path = /var/spool/samba;" \
    -i /etc/samba/smb.conf.default &&

mkdir -pv /etc/openldap/schema                        &&

install -v -m644    examples/LDAP/README              \
                    /etc/openldap/schema/README.samba &&

install -v -m644    examples/LDAP/samba*              \
                    /etc/openldap/schema              &&

install -v -m755    examples/LDAP/{get*,ol*} \

Command Explanations

--enable-fhs: Assigns all other file paths in a manner compliant with the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS).

--without-ad-dc: Disables Active Directory Domain Controller functionality. See Set up a Samba Active Directory Domain Controller for detailed information. Remove this switch if you've installed the Python modules needed for ADS support. Note that BLFS does not provide a samba bootscript or systemd unit for an Active Directory domain controller.

--with-selftest-prefix=SELFTEST_PREFIX: This option specifies the test suite work directory (default=./st).

install -v -m644 examples/LDAP/* /etc/openldap/schema: These commands are used to copy sample Samba schemas to the OpenLDAP schema directory.

install -v -m644 ../examples/smb.conf.default /etc/samba: This copies a default smb.conf file into /etc/samba. This sample configuration will not work until you copy it to /etc/samba/smb.conf and make the appropriate changes for your installation. See the configuration section for minimum values which must be set.

Configuring Samba

Config Files


Printing to SMB Clients

If you use CUPS for print services, and you wish to print to a printer attached to an SMB client, you need to create an SMB backend device. To create the device, issue the following command as the root user:

install -dvm 755 /usr/lib/cups/backend &&
ln -v -sf /usr/bin/smbspool /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb

Configuration Information

Due to the complexity and the many various uses for Samba, complete configuration for all the package's capabilities is well beyond the scope of the BLFS book. This section provides instructions to configure the /etc/samba/smb.conf file for two common scenarios. The complete contents of /etc/samba/smb.conf will depend on the purpose of Samba installation.



You may find it easier to copy the configuration parameters shown below into an empty /etc/samba/smb.conf file instead of copying and editing the default file as mentioned in the Command Explanations section. How you create/edit the /etc/samba/smb.conf file will be left up to you. Do ensure the file is only writable by the root user (mode 644).

Scenario 1: Minimal Standalone Client-Only Installation

Choose this variant if you only want to transfer files using smbclient, mount Windows shares and print to Windows printers, and don't want to share your files and printers to Windows machines.

A /etc/samba/smb.conf file with the following three parameters is sufficient:

    workgroup = WORKGROUP
    dos charset = cp850
    unix charset = ISO-8859-1

The values in this example specify that the computer belongs to a Windows workgroup named WORKGROUP, uses the cp850 character set on the wire when talking to MS-DOS and MS Windows 9x, and that the filenames are stored in the ISO-8859-1 encoding on the disk. Adjust these values appropriately for your installation. The unix charset value must be the same as the output of locale charmap when executed with the LANG variable set to your preferred locale, otherwise the ls command may not display correct filenames of downloaded files.

There is no need to run any Samba servers in this scenario, thus you don't need to install the provided systemd units.

Scenario 2: Standalone File/Print Server

Choose this variant if you want to share your files and printers to Windows machines in your workgroup in addition to the capabilities described in Scenario 1.

In this case, the /etc/samba/smb.conf.default file may be a good template to start from. Also, you should add the dos charset and unix charset parameters to the [global] section as described in Scenario 1 in order to prevent filename corruption. For security reasons, you may wish to define path = /home/alice/shared-files, assuming your user name is alice and you only want to share the files in that directory, instead of your entire home. Then, replace homes by shared-files and change also the comment if used the configuration file below or the /etc/samba/smb.conf.default to create yours.

The following configuration file creates a separate share for each user's home directory and also makes all printers available to Windows machines:

    workgroup = WORKGROUP
    dos charset = cp850
    unix charset = ISO-8859-1

    comment = Home Directories
    browseable = no
    writable = yes

    comment = All Printers
    path = /var/spool/samba
    browseable = no
    guest ok = no
    printable = yes

Other parameters you may wish to customize in the [global] section include:

    server string =
    security =
    hosts allow =
    load printers =
    log file =
    max log size =
    socket options =
    local master =

Reference the comments in the /etc/samba/smb.conf.default file for information regarding these parameters.

Since the smbd and nmbd daemons are needed in this case, install the samba systemd unit. Be sure to run smbpasswd (with the -a option to add users) to enable and set passwords for all accounts that need Samba access. Using the default Samba passdb backend, any user you attempt to add will also be required to exist in the /etc/passwd file.

Advanced Requirements

More complex scenarios involving domain control or membership are possible. Such setups are advanced topics and cannot be adequately covered in BLFS. Many complete books have been written on these topics alone. Note that in some domain membership scenarios, the winbindd daemon and the corresponding systemd unit are needed.

Guest account

The default Samba installation uses the nobody user for guest access to the server. This can be overridden by setting the guest account = parameter in the /etc/samba/smb.conf file. If you utilize the guest account = parameter, ensure this user exists in the /etc/passwd file.

Systemd Units

To start the Samba daemons at boot, install the systemd units from the blfs-systemd-units-20240205 package by running the following command as the root user:

make install-samba

To start the winbindd daemon at boot, install the systemd unit from the blfs-systemd-units-20240205 package by running the following command as the root user:

make install-winbindd


This package comes with two types of units: A service file and a socket file. The service file will start the smbd daemon once at boot and it will keep running until the system shuts down. The socket file will make systemd listen on the smbd port (Default 445, needs to be edited for anything else) and will start the smbd daemon when something tries to connect to that port and stop the daemon when the connection is terminated. This is called socket activation and is analogous to using {,x}inetd on a SysVinit based system.

By default, the first method is used - the smbd daemon is started at boot and stopped at shutdown. If the socket method is desired, you need to run the following commands as the root user:

systemctl stop smbd &&
systemctl disable smbd &&
systemctl enable smbd.socket &&
systemctl start smbd.socket

Note that only the smbd daemon can be socket activated.


Installed Programs: cifsdd, dbwrap_tool, dumpmscat, eventlogadm, gentest, ldbadd, ldbdel, ldbedit, ldbmodify, ldbrename, ldbsearch, locktest, masktest, mdsearch, mvxattr, ndrdump, net, nmbd, nmblookup, ntlm_auth, oLschema2ldif, pdbedit, profiles, regdiff, regpatch, regshell, regtree, rpcclient, samba-log-parser, samba-gpupdate, samba-regedit, samba-tool, sharesec, smbcacls, smbclient, smbcontrol, smbcquotas, smbd, smbget, smbpasswd, smbspool, smbstatus, smbtar, smbtorture, smbtree, tdbbackup, tdbdump, tdbrestore, tdbtool, testparm, wbinfo, and winbindd
Installed Libraries:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and filesystem and support modules under /usr/lib/{python3.12,samba}
Installed Directories: /etc/samba, /run/samba, /usr/include/samba-4.0, /usr/lib/python3.12/site-packages/samba, /usr/{lib,libexec,share}/samba, and /var/{cache,lib,lock,log,run}/samba

Short Descriptions


is the dd command for SMB


is used to read and manipulate TDB/CTDB databases using the dbwrap interface


dumps the content of MS catalog files


is used to write records to eventlogs from STDIN, add the specified source and DLL eventlog registry entries and display the active eventlog names (from smb.conf)


is used to run random generic SMB operations against two SMB servers and show the differences in behavior


is a command-line utility for adding records to an LDB database


is a command-line utility for deleting LDB database records


allows you to edit LDB databases using your preferred editor


allows you to modify records in an LDB database


allows you to rename LDB databases


searches an LDB database for records matching a specified expression


is used to find differences in locking between two SMB servers


is used to find differences in wildcard matching between Samba's implementation and that of a remote server


runs Spotlight searches against a SMB server


is used to recursively rename extended attributes


is a DCE/RPC Packet Parser and Dumper


is a tool for administration of Samba and remote CIFS servers, similar to the net utility for DOS/Windows


is the Samba NetBIOS name server


is used to query NetBIOS names and map them to IP addresses


is a tool to allow external access to Winbind's NTLM authentication function


converts LDAP schema's to LDB-compatible LDIF


is a tool used to manage the SAM database


is a utility that reports and changes SIDs in Windows registry files


is a Diff program for Windows registry files


applies registry patches to registry files


is a Windows registry file browser using readline


is a text-mode registry viewer


is used to execute MS-RPC client side functions


parses winbind logs generated by Samba


allows you to edit Microsoft Group Policy Objects (GPOs)


is a ncurses based tool to manage the Samba registry


is the main Samba administration tool


manipulates share ACL permissions on SMB file shares


is used to manipulate Windows NT access control lists


is a SMB/CIFS access utility, similar to FTP


is used to control running smbd, nmbd and winbindd daemons


is used to manipulate Windows NT quotas on SMB file shares


is the main Samba daemon which provides SMB/CIFS services to clients


is a simple utility with wget-like semantics, that can download files from SMB servers. You can specify the files you would like to download on the command-line


changes a user's Samba password


sends a print job to a SMB printer


reports current Samba connections


is a shell script used for backing up SMB/CIFS shares directly to Linux tape drives or to a file


is a test suite that runs several tests against a SMB server


is a text-based SMB network browser


is a tool for backing up or validating the integrity of Samba .tdb files


is a tool used to print the contents of a Samba .tdb file


is a tool for creating a Samba .tdb file out of a ntdbdump


is a tool which allows simple database manipulation from the command line


checks a smb.conf file for proper syntax


queries a running winbindd daemon


resolves names from Windows NT servers

provides Name Service Switch API functions for resolving names from NT servers

provides API functions for Samba's implementation of the Windows Internet Naming Service

provides API functions for the administration tools used for Samba and remote CIFS servers

provides API functions for the Samba SMB client tools

provides API functions for Windows domain client services