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FijiJohn 07-01-2006 11:18 PM

naive question about Samba
I am trying to set up a Samba server for a secondary school computer lab. I installed Fedora Core and have managed to fumble around enough that the linux box sees the windows machines okay. However, when I try to access the server from the windows xp boxes I am getting confusing results. It looks like Windows is passing the account name(s) to the server and I can only access the linux box when the windows computer has an account name that matches a linux account name (although one time I did access a linux account that was not on the windows box I was using???). I need to be able to have students log in from any of the windows machines and them log out securely. (I add this part because once I got in I could not see how to end the session and anyone using the windows box after me could open my home/desktop on the linux box.) (Here in Savusavu, Fiji, my resources are EXTREMELY limited so TIA for any help.)

Addendum: I can use "Disconnect network drive" to end a user's session so that part is now covered (although maybe not optimally). From one windows box I can access multiple accounts but not from another windows computer. I am still missing a part on how to log into the server. ;-)

doc.nice 07-02-2006 02:10 PM

The linux samba server uses the windows logon name to authenticate the user and to allow access to the resources.
so the best way is to create the samba users (linux users + smbpasswd users) and let each student log into windows. The only way to log out from the samba server is to kill/restart the server and/or to log out the windows user to make him forget a typed in password.
There are very good docs on the net ( that explains the setup and include examples for different scenarios


jschiwal 07-02-2006 02:38 PM

Check if you have a samba-docs package. It includes 3 Samba reference books. One of them is the same "Samba 3 by Example" that you can find in Barnes & Nobles. Samba Swat is a convenient way of configuring samba. It allows you to configure samba using a web based interface. The top page also has links to the documentation, and html versions of the man pages. There should be some example configurations that you can model your's on.
Reading through the Samba documentation, I learned things about Windows networking that I didn't know. Such as Windows XP home edition can not join a domain. Features were removed by Microsoft, that are present in Windows 98.
The swat manpage gives an example inetd configuration for the swat service. You're distro might have a swat xinetd configuration file. You might simply need to activate the service in your services configuration.

Good Luck.

ps. Just think how much the school district would save in licensing fees if all the hosts where Linux! hint, hint!

FijiJohn 07-03-2006 01:03 AM

Thank you. It sounds as if this is not going to be easy. Multiple students will be using any given Windows box during the day and from day to day a given student will be using different computers. We cannot have accounts for every student on every computer. I need to finds a way that any student can sit at any machine and access her/his files on the server, if at all possible. And of course, each student's files need to be in a password protected folder. Can it be done?

archtoad6 07-03-2006 05:23 AM


Originally Posted by FijiJohn
. . . and from day to day a given student will be using different computers. We cannot have accounts for every student on every computer. . . .

So the students (& anybody else) have free, uncontrolled access to the "Winders" machines but you want to password protect only the GNU/Linux server?

jschiwal 07-03-2006 07:28 PM

Samba 3 does support roaming profiles in one of it's modes. There are also examples on replicating the backend password database if you have more than one Linux Server. If each student has a single username and password, then you just need to have one entry for each student, not one entry per student per windows machine.

If the XP machines are Home Edition, that will limit what you can do because they are crippled and can't join a domain. I'm not denying that it will be a lot of work. I think that using a working example from a similar system, either by basing it on a Samba 3 by Example case, or using google might be your best bet.

Good Luck.

FijiJohn 07-04-2006 12:27 AM


Originally Posted by archtoad6
So the students (& anybody else) have free, uncontrolled access to the "Winders" machines but you want to password protect only the GNU/Linux server?

Yes. The apps (mostly MS Office) are on the Windows boxes but the personal files, which need to be protected from other students, are to be on the server. Right now the kids use floppies and in the tropics they die quickly. We see many unreadable floppies and lots of tears.

I will try to find Samba 3 by Example and see if I can set up roaming profiles. Lucklily we run on "Fiji Time" over here and having to wait six weeks for an airmailed book from Amazon is not a big problem. :)

Thanks for the help!

archtoad6 07-04-2006 05:33 AM

In the mean time, or if the money is a little much, here are links to the on-line vers.:

The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide

John H. Terpstra & Jelmer R. Vernooij, editors
Prentice Hall PTR
ISBN 0-13-146366-6 $49.99 (list)

On-line versions:
PDF download:

Samba-3 by Example: Practical Exercises to Successful Deployment

John H. Terpstra
Prentice Hall PTR
ISBN 0-13-147221-6 $44.99 (list)

On-line versions:
PDF download:

Both books are in their 2nd edition. The link for Samba-3 by Example definitely points at the new ver., I can 't tell about the TOSHARG link. You might want to work up their directory tree, there are some interesting things in the (grand)parents.

I'm sure Samba can do what you want, but I surely don't know how.

jschiwal 07-04-2006 03:19 PM

If you have a "samba-doc" package, it contains the Samba 3: By Example book as well as two more Samba reference books. These are the Bruce Perens' books that you can find in a book store.

They would be installed here:

archtoad6 07-05-2006 10:32 AM

Thanks for the tip, I just installed both samba-doc & samba-doc-pdf.

Off topic, but useful:
When apt-get is "hung" on a previous incomplete package install & "apt-get -f install" doesn't fix the problem (in my case it wanted to remove 177 packages w/ no sign of replacements), then do "apt-get remove <incomplete_packages>". Should have known this already, but just worked it out for myself.

archtoad6 07-05-2006 11:23 AM

On my (MEPIS) system they were in a slightly different spot & there was an "index.html", but no welcome.html:


If anyone has trouble locating them, try this:

# as root
updatedb && locate samba-doc |less -S
# or
updatedb && locate samba-doc |head -2

Again, thanks for the tip, jschiwal.

scheidel21 07-16-2006 10:09 PM

If you do a search I remember way to get XP home on a domain

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