[Samba] Does anyone think a mini-Samba server would be useful?

Paul D. DeRocco pderocco at ix.netcom.com
Wed Jul 24 12:19:01 MDT 2013

I'm working on a couple of Yocto Project based embedded projects, one using
a Gumstix Overo board and the other using an Intel Atom motherboard. Both
need a simple Samba server, which isn't included in the standard build. The
only existing Yocto-compatible recipe for Samba is an OpenEmbedded one for
version 3.6.8. I was quite surprised to find that adding Samba almost
tripled the size of my Atom build. I understand that version 4 is quite a
bit smaller, but we're still talking many tens of megabytes of stuff.

I would think there would be lots of people in my boat, who are doing
embedded systems and who would like to include a really simple SMB file
server. For instance, a data acquisition system needs to record large
amounts of data to a local disk, and then provide access to it over a
network so people can bring it into Matlab or other tools. A CNC machine
tool system needs a way to have Gerber or other files loaded into them. A
media server needs to be able to serve up video or audio files. Any embedded
device needs to have a way of being fed configuration data, or having its
firmware upgraded.

The requirements for such a system are much smaller than what Samba

* It only needs to serve files, not printers or other resources.

* It doesn't need a client, or any of the functionality related to a client.

* It doesn't need to deal with domains, let alone be a domain controller.

* It doesn't need to provide separate user accounts.

* The only security it needs is perhaps a password for reading, and maybe a
different password for writing.

* Since these devices are generally closed boxes with no general-purpose
command line interface, there's no need to encrypt passwords internally.

* It can assume it's being connected to a fully functional network, so
doesn't need to be a master browser.

* It doesn't need to support multiple interfaces.

* Its only configuration parameters would be a machine name, workgroup name,
list of shared folders, and one or two passwords per shared folder.

* It doesn't need most of the command line tools currently used to
configure, monitor and debug the system.

Sounds to me like the sort of thing that could be done in under a megabyte.

I wonder if there's a way to build such a mini-Samba out of the existing
Samba code base. It's certainly way above my abilities, but it may be
something that someone on the Samba team could do without mounting a major
development effort. How many other people would find such a system useful?


Ciao,               Paul D. DeRocco
Paul                mailto:pderocco at ix.netcom.com 

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