Samba and OpenLDAP: Something New Under the Sun

Two key open source solutions got new versions recently, and Emmett's here to point out the highlights of each.

Mainstay open source solutions Samba and OpenLDAP were both updated recently, helping make (in theory) integration even more seamless. Here's a rundown of what to look for in each new release.

Samba 3.2
It's impossible to talk about integration between the Unix/Linux operating system and Windows without mentioning Samba. This open source solution is what makes integration with Windows possible, and the features it offers and supports continue to expand regularly.

The last major release of Samba was 3.2, released in July. Since then, it's had enough patches and fixes (in fact, as of this writing it's at 3.2.4) that at this point, it's about as solid an integration solution as you'll find. If you're using an earlier version of Samba on your network, you'll want to seriously consider upgrading.

Samba 3.2 includes support for the latest Microsoft operating systems such as Windows Server 2008, and now uses a registry-style database to keep track of configuration settings. Clustered file server support is now built-in, as well as full IPv6 compliance. Best of all, Samba 3.2 works with less memory and is now licensed under the GNU GPLv3.

Among the documentation included with the download are three worth mentioning: Samba-3 by Example, the Samba Developers Guide and The Official Samba 3.2.x HOWTO and Reference Guide. The first is a 638-page PDF by John H. Terpstra that walks through almost every conceivable scenario. The Developer's Guide, by Jelmer R. Vernooij, is 148 pages long and walks through the protocol, basics, subsystems and debugging/tracing. And HOWTO/Reference rounds things out at 964 pages. Written by the aforementioned Terpstra and Vernooij along with Gerald Carter, HOWTO is the book to turn to when you can't find what you're looking for in the other two.

You can grab the Samba download here.

OpenLDAP 2.4.11
OpenLDAP is an open source implementation of the LDAP protocol -- absolutely essential for interfacing with Active Directory. Version 2.4.11 was recently declared the latest stable version for implementation in production environments.

In addition to the tools, libraries and utilities needed for executing the lightweight directory access protocol, OpenLDAP includes two necessary daemons:

  • slapd: LDAP server daemon.
  • slurpd: LDAP update replication daemon.

Both MirrorMode and MultiMaster replication are now supported in this version, along with Proxy Sync replication. The 2.4 release also includes additional monitoring capabilities and a number of LDAPv3 extensions.

If you haven't updated your OpenLDAP implementation for a while, it's highly recommended you download and install 2.4.11 and begin taking advantage of the new features. You can download the latest implementation here, and you can find the 2.5 administrator's guide here.

More To Come
As a parting note, you may have noticed a lot of recent articles pointing out that many large businesses are choosing to skip the upgrade to Window Vista, instead waiting for Windows 7.

As Windows 7, now expected in 2010, begins to solidify, you can be sure of one thing: The open source protocol implementations needed for seamless integration with the next OS will be developing right along with it.

About the Author

Emmett Dulaney is the author of several books on Linux, Unix and certification, including the Security+ Study Guide, Fourth Edition. He can be reached at eadulaney@comcast.net.

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