[Samba] Clarifying different password systems

Ross Boylan RossBoylan at stanfordalumni.org
Thu Oct 13 18:36:00 GMT 2005

I'm running samba 3.0.14a-6 on Debian GNU/Linux 2.4.  I believe that I
should be using pdbedit to add or modify users and their passwords,
but I want to double-check that.  I'd also like to suggest the
documentation could be clearer.

I had earlier versions installed, and the upgraded seems to have
migrated me to the new password scheme. smb.conf has "passdb backend =
tdbsam guest"; there is no smbpasswd file in the location designated
in smb.conf or anywhere else according to locate; and there are
various tdb files.

First uncertainty: is the smbpasswd program a general front end, like
pdbedit, or does it only work with the smbpasswd back end and file?
The man page and other documentation (e.g., 10.3 of the How To) seem
to provide evidence for both interpretations.

Second uncertainty: the smb.conf man page, in the section "Note About
Username/Password Validation" discusses authentication mechanisms.  It
doesn't look to me as if the samba backend figure in this discussion.
The first item refers to "the UNIX system's password programs"; to me
this means this means the usual Unix mechanisms for password
verification and not SAMBA's special facilities.  However, those may
be programs, and they are on a UNIX system, so maybe that is
intended.  This is the only password matching mechanism discussed
explicitly in the whole section.  This section contains no hint of the
issues with encrypted vs clear-text passwords.

The simple fact that one needs to set up users and passwords, at least
in some configurations (namely, the recommended ones for NT clients),
was not something that was obvious to me from the man pages, the How
To, and the cookbook.  It was so unobvious that I began to doubt it
was necessary, even though I had done it a few years ago (and since
kind of forgotten).

To summarize the question and the comment:

Given "passdb backend = tdbsam guest", " encrypt passwords = true",
and NT clients, does the smbpasswd command work on my system?

Comment: the documentation on the use and setup of passwords was
obscure to me.  A few strategically placed sentences could help a lot
to clarify things.

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