[Samba] clarification needed: $ in machine name?

Sean P. Elble elbles at sessys.com
Fri Jul 7 18:07:24 GMT 2006

On Fri, 7 Jul 2006, Eric Evans wrote:

> Hello,
> Sorry to be a pest, but I need to try to get some clarification of how the 
> machine name works when setting up a machine account on the Samba server. 
> The Samba How-To page 
> http://us3.samba.org/samba/docs/man/Samba-HOWTO-Collection/samba-pdc.html#id2536400 
> talks about the "common error" of including the $ in the machine name on the 
> server machine.  However, all of the examples of PDC setup that I've seen 
> show machine accounts in the passwd file that DO have a $ at the end of the 
> machine name.  So, $ or no $?  The explanation on the How-To page is 
> confusing, when it says "The problem is only in the program used to make the 
> entry....Create a user without the "$".  Then use vipw to edit the entry, 
> adding the "$"".  This is perplexing.  Why would it make any difference 
> whether you put in the $ with vipw or some other editor?  And why does the 
> heading of this section say ""$" Cannot Be Included in Machine Name?"  I 
> don't quite get what the real technical issue is here.  I think some more 
> explanation is needed.

The technical issue there was/is actually specific to old(er) versions of 
FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD where the standard set of commands would not let 
you add a user with the "$" character in it, at least per my 
understanding. You definitely do need the $ appended to the end of the 
machine name for the machine accounts though, and assuming you run a newer 
release of *BSDs, Linux, et cetra, you should be OK in that aspect.

Also, to clarify on a matter you mentioned earlier regarding machine 
accounts and "blank" passwords, that should not be an issue, as long as 
you disable their ability to login to the system via modifying the GECOS 
field in /etc/passwd so that their shell is something like /bin/false. 
Someone else had mentioned it, I believe, but another confirmation should 
help to put your mind more at ease. :-) Well, at least as at ease as a 
mind can be when running Sun systems . . . :-P

> Eric

|  Sean Elble                                     |
|  Virginia Tech                                  |
|  Computer Engineering, Class of 2008            |
|  Vice President, VTLUUG                         |
|  E-Mail:   elbles at sessys.com                    |

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