From SambaWiki


This page is meant to give an overview about compiling and configuring Samba with support for OS X Spotlight support.

Samba uses Gnome Tracker as search engine, search tool and metadata storage system.


You need the following packages installed: tracker and libtracker-sparql-dev, the exact name may be different on your system.


Configure samba with --enable-spotlight:

$ ./configure ... --enable-spotlight ...
Checking for tracker-sparql-1.0                                                                 : not found 
Checking for tracker-sparql-0.16                                                                : yes 
Checking for header tracker-sparql.h                                                            : yes 
Checking for library tracker-sparql-0.16                                                        : yes 
Checking for library glib-2.0                                                                   : yes 
Checking for library gio-2.0                                                                    : yes 
Checking for library gobject-2.0                                                                : yes 
building with Spotlight support

Tracker version 1.0 or newer

We need a small wrapper that will be used in DBUS service files and ensures this environment variable is always set for all tracker binaries:

TRACKER_BUS_TYPE=system /usr/libexec/$1

Saves this as


and don't forget to make it executable.

Create a user under which Tracker will run

For security reasons it is highly recommended to create a unprivileged user under which Tracker process will run:

# useradd -m mdssvc
# passwd mdssvc

The user needs a home directory as Tracker stores its database and configuration inside the users home directory.

Tracker will run as this user when crawling and indexing filesystems, so permissions on filesystems must grant read access to this user as desired.

dbus Configuration

Tracker doesn't provide a dbus config file for running as a system service yet, so here is one: Tracker Config File. Thanks Martyn!

This file must be saves as


dbus Service Files

Grab Tracker DBUS service files from [Tracker DBUS Service Files] and save them in:


Start Tracker as a special System Service with systemd

Grab the systemd unit files for tracker from [Tracker Systemd Unit Files] and save them in:


Now enable the services:

# systemctl enable system-tracker-store
# systemctl enable system-tracker-extract
# systemctl enable system-tracker-miner-fs

Configuring which Paths to index in Tracker

Tracker uses Gnome GSettings which mean settings are stored in the user's home directory. Changing settings can be done by running the command gsettings, but this requires a user dbus session to be active:

# su - tracker
tracker$ dbus-launch --sh-syntax > .dbus_settings
tracker$ . .dbus_settings

Once you have sourced .dbus_settings you can run gsettings command:

tracker$ . .dbus_settings
tracker$ gsettings list-recursively | grep Tracker
org.freedesktop.Tracker.DB journal-chunk-size 50
org.freedesktop.Tracker.DB journal-rotate-destination ''
org.freedesktop.Tracker.Extract wait-for-miner-fs false
tracker$ gsettings set org.freedesktop.Tracker.Miner.Files index-recursive-directories "['/Volumes/spotlight']"


tracker$ export TRACKER_BUS_TYPE="system"
tracker$ /opt/tracker/libexec/tracker-store -v 3

Tracker versions older then 1.0.0

Tracker uses DBUS for IPC between Tracker processes and processes that want to run queries against the Tracker metadata store. Therefor you have to carefully start Samba, a dbus-daemon instance and Tracker ensuring all processes are then able to communicate with each other over the correct DBUS bus: Samba Spotlight Start Script. The magic that makes this work is the environment variable DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS.

The dbus-daemon that is started from the script need its config file with a matching DBUS session address, here's an example: Spotlight DBUS Configuration File.

Another point to keep in mind is the location where Tracker stores its config and database. Tracker was developed with a per-user use case in mind, as such configuration and data is put in locations relative to the users home directory of the uid of the Tracker processes. By changing the value of the HOME environment variable (a more fine grained approach is modifying the environment variables of the XDG basedir specification).

Configuring Tracker and using Tracker tools

In order to use Tracker commandline tools, you have to run a root shell and source these shell commands:

# cat .tracker_env
export DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS="unix:path=$INSTALLDIR/var/run/spotlight.ipc"
# . .tracker_env

Now you can tell Tracker which directories to index:

# gsettings set org.freedesktop.Tracker.Miner.Files index-recursive-directories "['/Volumes/spotlight']"

Configuring Samba

You can run the Spotlight RPC service mdssvc either as embedded service or as separate RPC daemon by enabling the mdssd RPC daemon:

    rpc_server:mdssvc = embedded


    rpc_daemon:mdssd = fork
    rpc_server:mdssvc = external

Finally enable Spotlight searching on a per share basis:

    path = /some/path
    spotlight = yes