Samba keeps up with Server 2008, Vista SP1

Relationship, and hence compatibility improving

The cat and mouse relationship between Microsoft and the open source Samba continues as the team prepares another update to add support for Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1.

The University of Canberra is a user of both Samba and Server 2008, but after an initial trail reverted to Server 2003 for compatibility.

ICT services windows systems team leader Tom Townsend told Computerworld in order to provide a good teaching environment the university must innovate and provide a solid environment for staff to students.

"We have Macs, Linux, and even a handful of Vista," Townsend said, adding all three desktop operating systems are authenticating against Active Directory.

Canberra University has one Linux lab and other machines "scattered" around departments used by staff as a preference for their work.

When Townsend upgraded AD to Server 2008, the intention was to continue to use it to authenticate the Linux clients, but after experiencing problems with a few Samba releases, turned down AD's security settings so the two were compatible.

However, this work-around was quickly abandoned and a Server 2003 domain controller was reintroduced and used to bind to Samba clients, and the 2008 domain controllers were returned to their native level of security.

"This means we can now work with Samba developers to resolve the problem properly, without trying to find a quick fix," Townsend said. "

"I'm not sure that I have a message for Samba developers, I'm sure the issue will be resolved quickly. Interoperability is really important to the university and we are going to talk with the Samba development team here in Canberra to see what progress they have made."

The Samba team has been working on Server 2008 compatibility since mid-2007, and according to developer Jeremy Allison a 3.0.28a release is being planned which will have fixes for Vista SP1 and Server 2008.

Canberra-based Samba developer Andrew Bartlett said he is always happy to work with reasonable requests from anyone, particularly locals, but his personal focus is on Samba4.

Bartlett said since the release of more documentation, the Samba team and Microsoft are "certainly are on much, much better terms".

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Rodney Gedda

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