Multiple WINS Servers Enhancement

Christopher R. Hertel crh at
Thu Jul 6 21:16:38 GMT 2000

On Jul 7,  6:48am, Chris Young wrote:
> Subject: Re: Multiple WINS Servers Enhancement

> I think that we need to consider that Samba is not just a SMB
> Server.  It is being used by many as a Windows NT network client.
> This means that the option of having two WINS entries can be
> absolutely neccessary.  Just make certain that the FAQ and
> documentation note the "no replication with Samba WINS Servers"
> issue appropriately.

How is it "absolutely necessary"?  The WINS service is not a critical
service, per. se.  The network can run without it.  The only case in
which it would work involves having two MS WINS servers running in
replication mode.  In that case, should one fail, you can make a quick
change to smb.conf and signal the Samba daemons to restart.

Don't get me wrong.  It's a good patch, I'm just looking for input.
Sometimes there are real reasons for our behavior.

> For many shops, Samba is being integrating into an existing Windows
> NT domain. With that in mind, it is important that Samba be able to
> use more than one WINS server (especially when you consider how often
> a Windows NT server can go down or have WINS corruption that makes
> WINS unavailable on the system).

If the WINS database is corrupted, what happens to the secondary WINS
server?  Hmmm...

> I even think that it would even be nice if there was a wins nsswitch library
> available
> so that UNIX systems could use WINS to resolve hostnames.  This would make
> indentifying Windows clients easier in alot of cases (but, that's a different
> issue).

It is also a very, very ugly issue.  The NetBIOS namespace is *not* the
same as the DNS namespace.  The mapping you propose may work across a
small LAN, but it's a really, really bad idea on larger networks.  It's
also very dangerous if your DNS is part of the real-world DNS
hierarchy.  It is fairly easy to pollute a WINS database.  Then there
are also the issues of group names, name collisions, scope (both in the
RFC sense and not) etc.

Bottom line:  The NetBIOS name space should *not* be allowed to pollute
the DNS namespace.  If you want a mapping, the DNS should be
authoritative as it *is* the authoritative Internet naming mechanism.
I still think it's a misleading kludge, but a NetBIOS name query going
to the DNS doesn't mess up the DNS.  A DNS query going to WINS...

> I like the enhancement.  I think that it should get incorporated.  I think we
> need to stop babying Samba administrators this way.

I don't follow.  How does the lack of this feature constitute
"babying"?  The reason it's not there, AFAIK, is that it wasn't
important enough to bother with it.

> Stop worrying about the
> sap who hasn't done his homework and learns things the hard way.  Just like
> everything in this entire world goes, if you misconfigure it despite the
> AVAILABLE documentation, it is YOUR fault! (Just ask my dad who has built
> things without reading the directions.  He can turn a coffee table into an
> entertainment center! :)

No, that's not the point.  Secondary WINS failover has never been added
because there hasn't been a lot of demand for it and because Samba
doesn't do WINS replication.  A patch makes it easy, of course.

I don't have any objections, though I do want to know if anyone else
does.  This patch is perfectly reasonable as far as I can tell, and
there are a few other patches that I want to apply, so all I really
need is some assurance that nobody else knows of a showstopper.
Otherwise I can add it to the HEAD branch and it will show up in the
next major release.

Chris -)-----

Christopher R. Hertel -)-----                   University of Minnesota
crh at              Networking and Telecommunications Services

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