Computer networks are often comprised of diverse systems, and while operating a network made up entirely of Ubuntu desktop and server computers would certainly be fun, some network environments must consist of both Ubuntu and Microsoft Windows systems working together in harmony. This section of the Samba guide introduces principles and tools used in configuring your Ubuntu Server for sharing network resources with Windows computers.
Successfully networking your Ubuntu system with Windows clients involves providing and integrating with services common to Windows environments. Such services assist the sharing of data and information about the computers and users involved in the network, and maybe classified under three major categories of functionality:
File and Printer Sharing Services. Using the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol to facilitate the sharing of files, folders, volumes, and the sharing of printers throughout the network.
Directory Services. Sharing vital information about the computers and users of the network with such technologies as the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Microsoft Active Directory.
Authentication and Access. Establishing the identity of a computer or user of the network and determining the information the computer or user is authorized to access using such principles and technologies as file permissions, group policies, and the Kerberos authentication service.
Fortunately, your Ubuntu system may provide all such facilities to Windows clients and share network resources among them. One of the principal pieces of software your Ubuntu system includes for Windows networking is the Samba suite of SMB server applications and tools.
This section of the Samba guide will introduce some of the common Samba use cases, and how to install and configure the necessary packages. Additional detailed documentation and information on Samba can be found on the Samba website.