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Networking Linux

Microsoft Working For Samba Interoperability 221

JP writes "Andrew Bartlett of Samba fame has written a document describing their recent collaboration with Microsoft's Active Directory team. In brief, it would seem that the sky is falling, as Microsoft's engineers seem to be really committed to making Samba fully interoperable with AD. They have organized interoperability fests and have knowledgeable engineers answering technical questions without legal or marketing drones getting in the way. However according to Andrew the Samba AD team is currently very short on manpower, so if you have network experience, now is the time to get coding."
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Microsoft Working For Samba Interoperability

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  • about time.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Markspark ( 969445 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:54AM (#25482089)
    and this will probably be of some benefit to Microsoft, since playing well with other operating systems must always be an advantage.
  • Open source labs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sammyo ( 166904 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:56AM (#25482111) Journal

    I could probably make some small contribution but have neither the time nor inclination to set up the dev and test environment.

    For projects of this magnitude a site that could be ssh'd to, 'check out' a dev environment slice would make it a whole lot more practical for folks to work on a small bug or enhancement.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:58AM (#25482149)
    Me too. Where is BadAnalogyGuy when you need him?
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:59AM (#25482177) Homepage Journal

    Seems like a good time for some of the larger distros to help Samba out.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:02AM (#25482195)

    Snowballs are making it through hell, is what I believe was implied. Pigs are flying.

    AD must not be the holy grail anymore, but I'm not complaining. Openness to the FOSS community isn't a Microsoft trait, but as long as they have this deal with Novell/SUSE that's making them a mint, why not try and make it work? After all, they can look inside SAMBA with no obstacles to learn about their own code.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:04AM (#25482233)
    Why not? I don't think a for-profit company is ever going to get far from compete mode. I wouldn't expect Apple or Palm or Redhat for that matter to play well with others if it wasn't an advantage either.
  • Re:about time.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsane ( 148894 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:05AM (#25482235)

    Or they'll just wait until their ideas are fully integrated with samba, and then threaten anyone who uses it with patent lawsuits...

    I have a hard time seeing any other outcome.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:11AM (#25482331) Homepage Journal

    You seem to not read carefully the most important part: "Microsoft's engineers seem to be really committed to making Samba fully interoperable with AD"

    M$ engineers are normal folks like you and me. Well, probably not me. The all cr*p breaks loose when M$ management gets involved and start pushing its political agendas.

    If cooperation between AD and Samba folks would be successful, rest assured some M$ managers would try to stick themselves into the project to get a free share of credit for the success.

  • by Toll_Free ( 1295136 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:16AM (#25482395)

    If MS is truly working with Samba to get it 100 percent, what I'd REALLY like to see (and I won't believe they ARE working with SMB until then) is non-encrypted passwords.

    SHARE the SMB password system, make it available, so not every friggin windows machine has to do unencrypted passwords across the network to access SAMBA shares / printers / whatever.

    That's always been my BIGGEST stumbling block. Linux is touted as being so secure, but then it has to use unencrypted passwords to chat with the desktop clients for sharing.

    I KNOW it's an MS problem (their authentications schemas are proprietary), but if they claim to be trying for interoperability (which, they probably are), this was / is my biggest hurdle to accepting *nix in a windows shop.


  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:16AM (#25482397)

    I work for a company that does a lot of integration for enterprise customers. Sometimes there are spaces for Microsoft products in an otherwise Unix environment. Our customers happen to be pretty set on using Unix in general, so for Microsoft, it makes sense to make sure that their products can fit into an environment like that without any hassle. After all, a small sale is better than no sale.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toll_Free ( 1295136 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:17AM (#25482409)

    Due to NDA's, MS Engineers are probably not being helpful without management.

    Whether or not management CONTINUES to allow them to be helpful, remains to be seen.

    You DID bring up a good point, though.


  • by something_wicked_thi ( 918168 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:22AM (#25482463)

    Clearly, it's a sign of the Apocalypse. Dogs and cats living together and all that.

  • Re:New Version (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:30AM (#25482555) Homepage

    ... and then claim patent or copyright infringement.

  • by Slash.Poop ( 1088395 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:34AM (#25482615) Homepage
    The sky is falling.....

    .....simply descibes the level of cynicism and bias that slashDot and a vast majority of it posters have toward anything Microsoft. They don't believe that Microsoft does or creates anything good. So when Microsoft does do just that, it must mean that the sky is falling.
  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:34AM (#25482617) Journal
    You're right on target. All OS zealotry aside, there are some applications that are simply better on Windows. Conversely there are some applications that you'd never want to put anywhere near Windows. In the real world there is a middle ground. Maybe your ERP system needs to output some numbers for the managers to play with in Excel. It can toss them onto a Samba share and everything is good. That's just an example off of the top of my head. I'm sure there are hundreds of others.
  • by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:36AM (#25482643) Homepage

    Long ago, being having compatibility with Microsoft's file sharing backend would have been a big win, but the target has moved and, let's face it, Samba still isn't very easy to set up.

    In this case, Microsoft knows the knife is cutting both ways. The low-end license buyers won't bother paying for a Linux admin, so it doesn't harm Microsoft one bit.

    Microsoft's biggest customers buy the whole mess that includes their mail server and a bunch of other back office crap that remains totally closed.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:43AM (#25482775)

    I suppose its all about realisation that Linux is making it into corporate environments, and Microsoft now has to do something to keep themselves there.

    MS are saying that if you really, really must have a Linux server in your IT shop, they'd better make it so it can connect to the one true corporate user account register, before the people who put the Linux server in decide to try a different LDAP server, maybe even one supplied by Novell.

    It makes sense for MS to start doing this, in this way they can keep their dominance in the corporate IT structure, by letting the lowly Linux boxes play in the same playground. The important thing to understand here is that even MS has realised linux is making it big in businesses, that kinda give Linux the seal of approval from MS, not even the most pro-MS, anti-OSS PHB can say its not a valid OS anymore.

    Next: an Outlook client... MS won't mind that as it allows them to keep their Exchange systems ... until someone builds an Exchange replacement to go with it, and then watch MS share price tumble.

  • Re:Bad analogies? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) * on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:48AM (#25482837) Homepage

    This seems roughly akin to two soldiers from opposing armies suddenly having brunch and discussing the finer points of shooting people.

    Sigh. This is actually a pretty good analogy. The soldiers being the programmers just do what they are told to do by their superiors. Somebody in the upper echelons of Microsoft said quit shooting. The programmers, being programmers, revert to talking shop with their comrades-in-arms.


  • by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:55AM (#25482925)

    I cannot believe the samba team is down to ONE full time developer.

    Its a HUGE project to undertake.

    When I buy my Red Hat, Suse or Ubuntu thingies for money, Im thinking some of that money goes to helping FOSS developers.

    Hey, it better be that way guys: put some dough into Samba.... NOW!

  • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:00PM (#25483001)

    Its already interoperable, but the MS AD team isn't going to stop adding features just because its going to break the desktops of people who don't pay them. But if they break things too much, they get sued to death over their monopoly. Their only solution is to make sure the Samba project keeps up, so its what they do.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:07PM (#25483109)
    They have organized interoperability fests and have knowledgeable engineers answering technical questions without legal or marketing drones getting in the way.

    Wouldn't this be a GOOD time to have legal drones getting involved? No, not Microsoft's lawyers, the ones that will protect the interests of the Samba intellectual property?

  • Re:Bill Gates (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Erpo ( 237853 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:16PM (#25483237)

    I'm not suprised.

    For a long time Microsoft has had a package called Services For Unix that you can install on Windows. It allows Windows to act as a server but not a client with respect to standard *nix protocols like NFS.

    Microsoft wants to replace *nix in the server space by breaking into purely *nix environments and replacing an entrenched server operating system with their operating system.

    Whether this is done by making Windows interoperable with the protocols that are already on the clients or changing the clients to interoperate with Windows as a server is immaterial.

    Unless they're making it easy for people to replace Windows AD servers with Samba servers running on Linux, this is not a big deal.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:45PM (#25483649)

    No, but they've threatened to. According to MS Linux infringes on upwards of two hundred patents, and MS has claimed to have considered bringing up patent lawsuits against those who use Linux. This way companies will stick with MS rather than risk being sued to death.

    In some ways it's worse to just threaten than actually going ahead with the lawsuit because once they've made it clear where the infringements are they can be dealt with (F/OSS being quite flexible and what not), but with their FUD they can hang it over the heads of any potential Linux users for years to come.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:49PM (#25483715)

    Right, and they are doing that because they are good, right? I know that nobody RTFA, but here is an excerpt, just for you :-)

    In September 2007 Microsoft lost it's appeal of the 2004 anti-trust
    Decision by the European Commission. As as result, Microsoft was
    required to make protocol documentation available to competitors.

    MS has a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, bankers, and every other stakeholder. For them not to defend their IP would open them up to lawsuits from their stakeholders. And for that matter, giving away their IP as others have suggested would also create the same outcome.

    You see, business decisions are not black and white; good or evil; or your typical adolescent binary reasoning that prevails here on Slashdot. If some company that I invested my retirement savings into decided one day to give away their IP to be "good" and cave to the F/OSS community with no business plan on how to compensate for the loss of revenues, I would sue the management for gross malfeasance. Now, to head off the folks who would say that you can make up the revenues with services and support, I would like to point out that service and support companies are a dime a dozen, actually, that business plan has become a commodity worth as much as becoming a landscaper or a house cleaner - which I get a business card per day on average from folks who are in that business.

  • by Toll_Free ( 1295136 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:55PM (#25483805)

    No, it wasn't a troll.

    Natively, without another method (kerberos), you have to use unencrypted passwords.

    That was my point. If it just >>worked, it would be better.

    My biggest problem with Linux is interoperability. Yes, it's there, but you ALWAYS seem to have to enable SOMETHING else.

    Hopefully, with this, you just install samba, configure your users, and that's it. Nothing else has to be added, changed or anything else.

    It's not like you have to set up a different authentication schema to use a MS Server share on Win2k, do you? For linux to get a stronger foothold in the enterprise (and to a limited extent, the home network), it needs to be a little easier to get it to operate with the other operating systems... (I'm NOT saying this is Linux's fault, I'm hoping that MS decides to open the protocol up a bit more on the authentication side).


  • by boyfaceddog ( 788041 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @01:01PM (#25483913) Journal

    MS will release Open Source AD compatible Samba - which everyone will use and will come with some weird license that everyone will argue with and MS will simply wipe out all products that use the MS AD Samba.

    Embrace, extend, extinguish.

    How hard is this to understand?

  • Re:about time.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @01:06PM (#25483987) Homepage

    It's not that odd. The Windows networks exist, and that's what's really important. No one gives two shits about what you're running, only if you can't communicate with them. Samba exists as a clone and is recommended here because people need to interoperate. You can't run any other kind of sharing on Windows and have it work properly, so the only other option is to use the same kind of sharing that Windows DOES work with.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @01:31PM (#25484353) Homepage Journal

    "There is a reason why Windows servers are so popular and it is no one makes directory services, file sharing, group policy, and email/calendaring as easy as Microsoft. Microsoft has been so successful at creating these services and making them simple to administer that most open source projects try to emulate/replicate/duplicate what already has been done"

    I disagree.

    Before even Novell had NDS working well there was StreeTalk. But NDS worked just fine, than, you very much.

    It was the client, being crippled by Microsoft, that hampered NetWare. Not NDS.

    The whole Microsoft v. Novell thing is a good case study in using interoperability to first build a market, then crush your competition, leaving you dominant and solitary. Perhaps you need to go back and read some of the court papers to more fully appreciate the effort Microsoft put into making Novell fail on Windows.

    And then there's the whole Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect things, but we digress. When Microsoft starts 'working' on interoperability, it is not irrational to suspect foul play. It's experience.

    ps- I rather liked GroupWise, which worked pretty well when Exchange was not. And I use Notes at work which, despite the complaints, works too well to ditch here. Not entirely fair, 'cause here we use so many Notes databases and apps that Exchange can't replace all of it. The IBMers are frantically converting everything into .NET and Web 2.0 so we can use Exchange, and coincidentally experience substantially enhanced downtime in our data apps. And they are succeeding well. We've even lost data. Woot! Believe me, I know, these guys don't need any help from Microsoft.


  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @01:35PM (#25484447) Homepage Journal

    Did you replace AD with it or did you create an NT4 style domain? IMO I have never been able to achieve the AD replacement piece despite my best efforts with OpenLDAP and Kerberos and early releases of samba4. The first time anything expects to operate against a "real" active directory be it some remote software trying to authenticate, a NAS/filer, or software that "integrates" with AD, the setup has always fallen on its face. After a few attempts is simply becomes cheaper to deploy AD.

    The problem now is that a lot of new hardware and software coming out is getting harder and harder to shoehorn into samba/NT4 style environments. You have to jump through hoops to get it to work and a lot of times you have to sacrifice features or security when you do make it work. So this is a problem in "the enterprise."

    But it's starting to get bad with "the consumer" too. When a manufacturer's samba-running $99 NAS box that has worked great for a home user for years suddenly wont work with a new Vista machine it's perceived as microsoft's problem.

    Depending on your opinion of the matter, these might or it might not be really Microsoft's fault, but in any case they do have an interest (and by that I mean a financial incentive) in making sure their garbage works with everyone else's garbage.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by howlinmonkey ( 548055 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @01:55PM (#25484725)

    As someone already mentioned, SAMBA came about because users wanted to play nice in the dominant environment. And MS didn't grow to dominance because their software was superior.

    Oddly enough, much of AD is built on OSS technologies -> LDAP and Kerberos.

    And MS is only simple to admin if you don't mind constantly searching for hacks, patches and updates for obscure problems. Often, you have to manually go to the nightmare that is the registry to solve problems. Those of us comfortable with a text editor don't need the square training wheels of the MS gui.

    So stay up on your soapbox saying how much better MS is...

  • by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @02:19PM (#25485101) Homepage Journal
    This place is chock full of morons like that, and it seems that many of them have unlimited mod points. Thanks for fighting the good fight.
  • Re:about time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilRyry ( 1025309 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @02:51PM (#25485579) Journal

    Microsoft has complete and total control over both the clients and the servers for all the things you just mentioned which gives them just a tad of an advantage. They also have a monopoly on the desktop market. The only way to really join the game is to play by their rules. Thanks to Open Source software that interoperates with the Microsoft products, this barrier of entry is much lower allowing more companies to compete in a given market.

    You might be fine with a Windows file server and NTFS, unfortunately I manage large, high traffic storage volumes with a small budget. NTFS simply will not scale to my needs and I don't have the money to buy a SAN or NAS appliance (I've priced them, and demoed one and they are really, really expensive!). For me open source software provides an alternative solution that gives me the performance I need at a price my company can afford.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quanticle ( 843097 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @02:52PM (#25485597) Homepage

    There is a reason why Windows servers are so popular and it is no one makes directory services, file sharing, group policy, and email/calendaring as easy as Microsoft.

    Or perhaps its because no one makes directory services, file sharing, group policy, and email/calendaring as incompatible (with third party products) as Microsoft. Its not that Microsoft's products are any easier or more intuitive than the competition. Its that Microsoft's products work natively with Windows, and therefore allow Microsoft to leverage its monopoly in the desktop OS market into a monopoly in other spaces as well.

  • Re:about time.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ITJC68 ( 1370229 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:37PM (#25486437)
    You won't earn many friends with that remark although completely true. Alot of projects are being modeled after something M$ already does. Just a free alternative. When OSS starts creating its own niche then it will really take off. Most people don't want to have to learn how to use a computer all over again once they have Windows. Us Technically proficient people can but there are not as many PC users like us as there are average users who could care less what the OS is as long as it works and does what they want. And for the majority that is still Windows.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.