Setting up Samba as an Active Directory Domain Controller

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Samba4 developer howto, December 2004

This is a very basic document on how to setup a simple Samba4 server. This is aimed at developers who are already familiar with Samba3 and wish to participate in Samba4 development. This is not aimed at production use of Samba4.

Step 1: download Samba4

There are 2 methods of doing this:

 method 1:  "rsync -avz ."
 method 2:  "svn co svn:// samba4"

both methods will create a directory called "samba4" in the current directory. If you don't have rsync or svn then install one of them.

Since only released versions of Samba contain a pregenerated configure script, you will have to generate it by hand:

$ cd samba4/source
$ ./

Note that the above rsync command will give you a checked out svn repository. So if you also have svn you can update it to the latest version at some future date using:

 $ cd samba4
 $ svn up

Step 2: compile Samba4

Recommended optional development libraries: - acl and xattr development libraries - gnutls - readline

Run this:

 $ cd samba4/source
 $ ./configure
 $ make proto all

If you have gcc 3.4 or newer, then substitute "pch" for "proto" to greatly speed up the compile process (about 5x faster).

Step 3: install Samba4

Run this as a user who have permission to write to the install directory (defaults to /usr/local/samba). Use --prefix option to configure above to change this.

 # make install

Step 4: provision Samba4

The "provision" step sets up a basic user database. Make sure your smbscript binary is installed in a directory listed in your PATH environment variable. It is presumed it's available just like any other commands from your shell. Must be run as a user with permission to write to the install directory.

 # cd source
 # ./setup/provision --realm=YOUR.REALM --domain=YOURDOM --adminpass=SOMEPASSWORD

'YOURDOM' is the NT4 style domain name. 'YOUR.REALM' is your kerberos realm, which is typically your DNS domain name.

Step 5: Create a simple smb.conf

The provisioning will create a very simple smb.conf with no shares by default. You will need to update it to add at least one share. For example:

       path = /data/test
       read only = no

Step 6: starting Samba4

The simplest is to just run "smbd", but as a developer you may find the following more useful:

  # smbd -i -M single

that means "start smbd without messages in stdout, and running a single process. That mode of operation makes debugging smbd with gdb particularly easy.

Note that now it is no longer necessary to have an instance of nmbd from Samba 3 running. If you are running any smbd or nmbd processes they need to be stopped before starting smbd from Samba 4.

Make sure you put the bin and sbin directories from your new install in your $PATH. Make sure you run the right version!

Step 7: testing Samba4

try these commands:

    $ smbclient //localhost/test -Uadministrator%SOMEPASSWORD


    $ ./script/tests/ //localhost/test administrator SOMEPASSWORD

NOTE about filesystem support

To use the advanced features of Samba4 you need a filesystem that supports both the "user" and "system" xattr namespaces.

If you run Linux with a 2.6 kernel and ext3 this means you need to include the option "user_xattr" in your /etc/fstab. For example:

/dev/hda3 /home ext3 user_xattr 1 1

You also need to compile your kernel with the XATTR and SECURITY options for your filesystem. For ext3 that means you need:


If you are running a Linux 2.6 kernel with CONFIG_IKCONFIG_PROC defined you can check this with the following command:

  $ zgrep CONFIG_EXT3_FS /proc/config.gz

If you don't have a filesystem with xattr support, then you can simulate it by using the option:

  posix:eadb = /usr/local/samba/eadb.tdb

that will place all extra file attributes (NT ACLs, DOS EAs, streams etc), in that tdb. It is not efficient, and doesn't scale well, but at least it gives you a choice when you don't have a modern filesystem.

Testing your filesystem

To test your filesystem support, install the 'attr' package and run the following 4 commands as root:

 # touch test.txt
 # setfattr -n user.test -v test test.txt
 # setfattr -n security.test -v test2 test.txt
 # getfattr -d test.txt
 # getfattr -n security.test -d test.txt

You should see output like this:

 # file: test.txt
 # file: test.txt

If you get any "Operation not supported" errors then it means your kernel is not configured correctly, or your filesystem is not mounted with the right options.

If you get any "Operation not permitted" errors then it probably means you didn't try the test as root.