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14 September 2012, 12:21

First release candidate for Samba 4 is available

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The Samba developers are moving forward with their plans to deliver the next version of the Windows file, print and directory server and have announced that the first release candidate for Samba 4 is now ready. Version 4 of the free Windows services server has been in development for some time, and now includes a directory service that is compatible with Microsoft's Active Directory. The developers point out that this version continues to be unsuitable for production use, but that it can now be tested by interested Samba users.

After eight beta versions, the new features that have been introduced with RC1 are not too fundamental in nature: the file server component that is based on the tried and tested code of Samba 3 now also negotiates the SMB3 dialect; however, the Samba developers have not implemented all of the optional features that can be used in negotiations. "Leases", an improved type of oplock, are not included, but RC1 does provide a first implementation of durable handles. Samba 4 acquired printing capabilities in the most recent beta.

The developers recommend that users who need a pure member server continue to use Samba 3 or smbd, which originates from the same source code tree (the resulting Samba 4 binary is called samba). One reason for the developers cautioning their users in this way is that various features are still missing, for example, the automatic replication of the sysvol share between domain controllers – this must currently be done manually via rsync to ensure the consistent availability of group policies.

Probably the biggest new feature in RC1 is that it uses the internal DNS server – implemented by Kai Blin – by default; the previous default was an external instance of BIND. Just before the completion of the release candidate, Blin provided several patches to enable signed DNS updates. Various other components have been shifted around, the provisioning script for mounting directories being one of them, which is now a part of Samba's central configuration facility called samba-tool. For users wishing to familiarise themselves with Samba 4, the software's HOWTO documentation has already been updated with all of these changes.

Samba 4 RC 1 source code is available for downloadDirect download from the project's servers and detailed information about all the changes in the release can be found on the Samba wiki. The source code for Samba is licensed under the GPLv3.


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