[Samba] Newbie difficulties on Samba4/Documentation

David Lee David.Lee at jesus.org.uk
Mon Mar 10 11:49:13 MDT 2014

I am slowly teaching myself sufficient to get a Samba AD DC running on a 
very small network as a training exercise, replacing an ancient Samba 
PDC with at least 10 years worth of mistakes in it! I am not a computer 
specialist, but an electrical engineer who has some involvement in the 
IT system of a charity using AD (my reason for wanting to learn), and 
therefore this exercise has been pushing the boundaries of my knowledge. 
My assessment is that Samba has come a long way, but documentation to 
help someone like me is limited. I support code being more important 
than documentation, but good documentation should reduce the number of 
queries on this mailing list. I would therefore like to make some 
suggestions for improving the documentation on wiki.samba.org.
Firstly, a better introduction to Samba - it is now a highly complex bit 
of software, with multiple ways in which it can be set up. Would some 
kind of flow chart be possible, covering the options from "sharing data 
between my Linux desktop and my wife's windows machine" up to "replacing 
a forest of 10 domains", and outlining for each of them what features of 
Samba are used, and how they are controlled (smb.conf, samba-tool, 
Microsoft AD interface)? Associated with this is the need to know what 
other software is needed, and what is not needed (one of my problems was 
due to trying to add a separate Kerberos server - thanks to Rowland 
Penny and Denis Cardon for putting me right on that one). So Kerberos is 
out, Cups is often useful, and I don't know about pam - and there is 
probably others!
Some of the pages on the wiki appear to be out of date, which can be 
confusing. An example random page is 
https://wiki.samba.org/index.php/7.1_Configuration which talks about 
LDAP - which I think is now not needed for a simple DC. Weeding those 
out would be difficult, but it might be more practical to take a concept 
from the Microsoft technical pages where near the top of many pages it 
has a section "Applies to", and have a similar area on the Wiki pages. 
This could at least be done on the current major pages.
The basic instructions on the Wiki are good as long as everything goes 
correctly. What would be useful is extra pages on "Tests and problem 
solving" - giving tests that can be done to identify what is, or is not, 
working at each stage, and any starting points on how to fix things. I 
found that, when I joined my first machine to the new AD domain, it took 
3 minutes to log in - only after a lot of chasing around did I discover 
the DNS address needed updating on that machine, and that reduced it to 
a sensible log in time. Searching for "slow login" on the Samba wiki 
finds nothing, so I then was searching the whole web for any ideas.
Finally, thank you to the Samba team for all the work you have done.

David Lee

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