Build Samba from Source

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Most users are running packages shipped with their distribution or from 3rd parties, such as SerNet (Samba+/Enterprise). However, in some situations you decide to compile Samba yourself, like

  • outdated packages are shipped with your distribution
  • no packages are available for your distribution or OS
  • you want to apply a patch from a developer to fix a problem before a new version is released

Compiling Samba requires only a few steps:

sudo make install

You can run most of the required steps in this documentation without root privileges. If root permissions are required, the command is prefixed with sudo. Please see the sudo (8) manual page and your distribution documentation how to set up sudo.

The following documentation is valid for every type of Samba installation, like an Active Directory (AD) domain controller (DC), a domain member (AD and NT4 domain), an NT4 PDC, and standalone server.

Samba Operating System Requirements

To build Samba, install all required libraries and tools first. See Operating System Requirements.

Obtaining Samba

Stable Version (Recommended)

Always download the latest version of Samba from

Samba maintains three series of minor versions. For a maximum of security and stability, the Samba team recommends that you only install the latest available version of a series. Older versions do not contain the latest bug and security fixes. For further information, see Samba Release Planning.

To download, use a tool like wget. For example:

$ wget

Development Versions

Do not use a development version in production!

To download a development version, use git to clone the repository. For details, see Using Git for Samba Development.

Before a new major version is released, the Samba team publishes release candidates for testing purposes. You can download release candidates from

Extracting the Source Package

To extract the downloaded source package, run:

$ tar -zxf samba-x.y.z.tar.gz


Change into the directory with the extracted sources:

$ cd samba-x.y.z/

The configure script is located in the root of the sources directory. The main purpose of the script is to create a Makefile which is used by the command make. The configure script enables you to set various options, like installation paths. If you do not want to customize any paths, and enable or disable parts of Samba, run the following command without any option:

$ ./configure

If the command fails, read the error message and fix the problem. One common problem are missing dependencies. For details, see Operating System Requirements.

The following example shows the output, if the configure script cannot find the GnuTLS headers:

Checking for gnutls >= 1.4.0 and broken versions : not found
/usr/src/samba-x.y.z/source4/lib/tls/wscript:37: error: Building the AD DC requires
GnuTLS (eg libgnutls-dev, gnutls-devel) for ldaps:// support and for the BackupKey protocol

If the configure script exits without an error, you see the following output:

'configure' finished successfully (1m2.432s)

Continue with the make step, if no error has occurred.


If full python development headers are not installed you may see

Checking for header Python.h   : Distutils not installed? Broken python installation? Get python-config now! 
The configuration failed

Here you have three choices:

  • Add the following build settings to './configure':
--disable-python --without-ad-dc

This does mean that you will not be able to provision Samba as an AD DC.

  • (for Samba 4.10) build with python2 with
PYTHON=python2 ./configure
PYTHON=python2 make -j
  • install the Python 3.x development package for your system (eg python3-devel, python36-devel or python3-dev)

Customizing the Configure Options

While running the configure script without any options is sufficient to build Samba, you can customize installation paths and enable or disable features. To display the list of options, run:

$ ./configure --help

The output shows two major kind of options:

enable/disable/with/without Options

The configure script provides several --enable-* / -disable-* and --with-* / --without-* options. They allow you to enable and disable features. Each option you can turn to its opposite if you use --enable instead of --disable, --with instead of --without, and the other way around.

  • Example 1: Disable CUPS support (enabled by default):
          Build with cups support (default=yes)
If you do not require CUPS support, disable the feature passing the --disable-cups option to the configure command:
$ ./configure ... --disable-cups
  • Example 2: Compile Samba without AD DC capabilities:
          disable AD DC functionality (enables Samba 4 client and Samba 3 code base).
If you build Samba for a host that should not act as an AD DC, you can disable this feature passing the --without-ad-dc option to the configure command:
$ ./configure ... --without-ad-dc
  • Example 3: Build Samba with debug information:
$ ./configure ... --enable-debug 

Warning: Do not enable or disable features if you have not fully understood the cause of the option! Changing options can prevent your Samba installation from working as expected!

Installation Directories

If you use the default settings, the binaries, configuration files, libraries, and other files are installed in the /usr/local/samba/ directory. This enables you to keep the complete Samba installation in one location. However, you can specify individual paths. For example:

  • To install the daemon binaries like smbd and samba in the /sbin/ directory instead of /usr/local/samba/sbin/, run:
$ ./configure ... --sbindir=/sbin/
  • To set the default path to the smb.conf file to /etc/samba/ instead of /usr/local/samba/etc/, run:
$ ./configure ... --sysconfdir=/etc/samba/
  • To store the Samba man pages in the /usr/share/man/ directory, run:
$ ./configure ... --mandir=/usr/share/man/


To start the compilation, run

$ make

The make command is able to run multiple jobs in parallel. For example, to run 2 make sub-tasks at the same time, run:

$ make -j 2

If the compilation exits without an error, you see the following output:

Waf: Leaving directory `/usr/src/samba-x.y.z/bin'
'build' finished successfully (9m3.667s)

make test (Optional)

This optional step runs the Samba self test suite.

$ make test

make install

To install the compiled software, you require root permissions to write to the destination directories and set the correct permissions.

To install Samba, run:

$ sudo make install 

If the installation exits without an error, you see the following output:

Waf: Leaving directory `/usr/src/samba-x.y.z/bin'
'install' finished successfully (18.243s)

Adding Samba Commands to the $PATH Variable

If you built Samba, add the directories containing the commands to the beginning of your $PATH variable. For example:

export PATH=/usr/local/samba/bin/:/usr/local/samba/sbin/:$PATH

To permanently update your $PATH, see your distribution's documentation.

Upgrading a Self-compiled Samba Installation

To update a self-compiled Samba installation, run the same steps like for a new installation while using the same configure options.

Applying a Patch

Some situations require that you apply a patch to Samba. For example, a bug has been fixed and you you cannot wait until the new Samba version is released. To apply the patch to the Samba sources, run:

  • Change into the Samba sources directory.
$ cd samba-x.y.z/
  • Download the patch. For example:
$ wget -O /tmp/patch.txt
  • Apply the patch to the sources:
$ patch -p 1 < /tmp/patch.txt

Additional information

Viewing Built Options of an Existing Installation

To display the options used to built Samba, run

$ smbd -b