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Samba Team Co-Founder John Terpstra Talks About Samba 3

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Samba co-founder John Terpstra talks about Samba 3: what it is, why it is needed, and how it's better than Windows 2000.
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Do you wish for network software that enables IT professionals to have it all? To work within Windows, Linux/UNIX or both? Sound too good to be true? Well, it does exist, in the form of the Samba software, maintained by a global network of volunteers known as the Samba-Team. Long trusted as stable file and print server software, Samba is now creating a groundswell, triggered by the long-awaited release of the latest version, Samba 3.0.0, which has been getting rave reviews from professionals in the field. There are currently 14-16 million servers running Samba, with an expected 3 million soon to migrate, according to Samba-Team Co-Founder John Terpstra. Read on to understand the excitement surrounding Samba.

1) Can you give me some background on the Samba team?

I am one of the co-founders of the Samba team. The Samba team was created as a loosely knit group that would continue to work on the development of Samba. The team has an "exterior shell" of a company but the interior is informal. For the overall picture of our group we try to stay true to the rule that in order to motivate people you need to let them work on what they are interested in. So we let people set their own goals and try not to limit ideas or people.

2) Why was a Samba 3 release necessary?

Samba 3 has been an ongoing project for 3 years. The original premise for Samba 3 was to create a product that would be as close to functionality to Windows NT 4.0. But then Microsoft released their 2000 product, which included an active directory, the team was pulled in a different direction. Our users wanted to not only fully migrate from NT 4.0 but we also had pressure to integrate Samba 3 with Windows 2000 and their active directory.

3) Why is it important for network administrators to read The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide?

Anyone who wants to deploy Samba 3 will want documentation, and this book is the "official" guide. There is also a collection of networking information that can help any network administrator no matter what system he/she is working on. There have been many people who have contributed their knowledge and expertise to this book, so it is truly the book to go to for anything you want to know about Samba 3.

4) The audience for your book is not only network administrators who are looking to migrate from 2.x version to 3 but also for Windows network administrators who are making the switch to Samba. What are the benefits to making the switch?

Every user is different. Some want to fully migrate off of our 2.x version to Samba 3, some want to fully migrate from Windows, and some want to have interoperability with Windows. The benefits of Samba are that it is a "seamless tool" that offers the highest level of interoperability! It is also "FREE," and the administrative costs are less than what it costs for the upkeep of Windows. In the book The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, I do try to reach those people who are trying to migrate off Windows but also those who are using Windows. There is a lot of Windows networking information that can benefit a Windows network administrator.

5) In what countries and regions has Samba been popular, and why?

Samba is especially popular in Germany, France, and Quebec.

Also in Japan because the country has major barriers in exchange of software; free open source software allows people to solve problems without having to purchase software from an outside company.

In China, which is the next boom market, Linux and open source is a natural fit because they are interested in technology but the government cannot deplete its funds through purchasing software.

Finally, recently India is a country where Samba is becoming more popular. India is a massive country with a massive population. There has been a lot of offshore development in India, and you are starting to see a lot of IT jobs being outsourced to India. Open Source is economically feasible and will help to continue to drive development.

6) What do you see for the future of Samba?

There will be some challenges in the future for Samba. The team needs to take a proactive role and adapt and change. What the team is asking for is public input and assistance in developing standards to interoperability.

About the Book

Samba-3 released in September after 3 years pent up demand by Network Admins. John Terpstra, co-founder of the Samba Team is the co-editor of the definitive guide to Samba-3, The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide (ISBN 0131453556).

Part of the Prentice Hall PTR Bruce Perens Open Source Series, this book pays special attention to Windows administrators migrating to Samba. The book exists as a comprehensive compilation of critical questions and answers that have been cultivated from Samba mailing lists, as well as new information written exclusively for the book, such as the chapter titled "FastStart: Cure for the Impatient," which presents several examples of total system configurations.

"We've gone over a mountain of questions that real-world users have raised and in this book, have posed both the questions and provided the answers that solve their problems in the 'Common Errors' section included within each chapter," Terpstra said.

"The sheer volume of different types of documentation [on Samba] has proved difficult to navigate, thus reducing its value to system administrators, as they try to cope with the complexity," said Andrew Tridgell, President of the Samba-Team.

"This book gathers together that wealth of information into a much more accessible form, to allow system administrators to quickly find what they need. The breadth of technical information provided ensures that even the most demanding of administrators will find something they need," he said.

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