Why Samba development is hard

Richard Hurt rnhurt at kangaroobox.com
Fri Feb 29 13:42:47 GMT 2008

As a consumer of Samba code I don't really feel like I can offer much  
criticism, but I have a few things on my mind so I thought I would  
share.  :)

I have been trying to get Samba (3 & 4) up and going for the better  
part of a week and its not been easy.  The thought that enters my mind  
is that even though there are many, many groups (commercial, private,  
OSS) using Samba there still aren't enough resources dedicated to it.   
Samba4 has been in development for years and its just now getting to  
an alpha release?  And its not even feature comparable to Samba 3!

How can Apple package it with OS X and not have some skin in the  
game?  There are hundreds of products on the market that package Samba  
code in one way or another (SAN boxes, NAS boxes, Tivo??, etc.) but do  
they give back?  What are all these companies that are using Samba  
doing with their profits?!?  Maybe I've missed it but It sure doesn't  
look like they are giving back much to the community.  I know what the  
GPL says but damn, help a brother out.

Sorry, it just frustrates me when I see great OSS projects getting  
stiffed.  :/


On Feb 28, 2008, at 12:55 PM| Feb 28, 2008, Kai Blin wrote:

> Hi folks,
> in the past days I have been pretty frustrated with the things I've  
> been
> trying to develop for Samba4. In this post, I will try to identify the
> reasons for this so we might try, as a project, to make getting into  
> Samba
> development easier. This post focuses on Samba4, as this is where I  
> spent
> most of my time so far although I'm afraid some of this will apply  
> to Samba3
> as well.
> While I'm certain that being the Samba team member with the least  
> number of
> patches in Samba I would hope that this doesn't just boil down to my  
> lack of
> experience with programming in general and programming C in  
> particular.
> Problem 1: Documentation
> ------------------------
> Samba4 has some really nifty design ideas and a really cool  
> technology behind
> it. However, if you haven't been around while all the pieces were  
> designed
> and discussed, it's really hard to find out how to actually _do_  
> things.
> Documentation seems to be in one of following states: outdated,  
> wrong and
> nonexistent. I spend lots of time trying to figure out how to do  
> pretty
> simple things. Often, catching abartlett, jelmer, simo or metze on  
> IRC is
> sufficient to get a pointer in the right direction, but this means  
> one of
> them has to be available at the time you bump into your problem or  
> you're
> stuck until one of them answers. Which brings me to problem number  
> two.
> Problem 2: Feedback
> -------------------
> Getting feedback is hard. Sending patches to samba-technical seems  
> to only get
> replies if the topic is controversial like my recent idmap patches.  
> Coming
> from a project where all patches are sent via a mailing list,  
> sending patches
> to samba-technical seemed like a good idea. In Samba this obviously  
> isn't
> that useful, judging from the response not only me but also other  
> people get.
> Just submitting things seems to get better feedback, but of course  
> that has
> obvious downsides for less experienced developers.
> Problem 3: Complexity
> ---------------------
> This is of course related to problem 1, but a different facet.  
> Getting some
> parts, e.g. the build system to do what you want can be really  
> complex. Today
> I stumbled over make proto also including code between #if 0 ..  
> #endif. While
> that's not too surprising if you think about it a bit more, in the  
> beginning
> it really puzzles the heck out of you how broken code that's not  
> compiled
> could break the build. A lot of things that seem obvious to more  
> seasoned
> developers aren't that obvious at all. This is probably hard to  
> document,
> it's just something we should be aware of.
> Unfortunately I don't have any brilliant idea on how to get the  
> learning curve
> to be less steep. Maybe we could give this some thought before the  
> next
> Summer of Code starts. If we can get the learning curve low enough for
> students to cope with it, that will help all other prospective  
> developers
> too. Also, Volker asked me to not only whine at the SerNet bunch. ;)
> Just my 0.02 EUR
> Kai
> -- 
> Kai Blin
> WorldForge developer  http://www.worldforge.org/
> Wine developer        http://wiki.winehq.org/KaiBlin
> Samba team member     http://www.samba.org/samba/team/
> --
> Will code for cotton.

More information about the samba-technical mailing list