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This chapter is from the book

Binary Distribution Methods

If, for some reason, you choose not to or are unable to compile the Samba source code yourself (say, for a lack of a C compiler on your system), you can download only the binaries. In Hour 1, "Introduction to Samba," I discussed the basics of the GPL. One stipulation of the license is that the source code must be available to those who want it, but this does not mean that it has to be distributed hand-in-hand with binary releases.

During my first job as a network administrator, I was flying by the seat of my pants. I had been given the responsibility of building a student-accessible PC lab. One of the things I purchased for the lab was a Sparc Ultra 1 running Solaris 2.5.1. Imagine my surprise when, as I was getting ready to install software, I realized that Sun didn't ship a C compiler with Solaris 2!

Binary distributions can be very helpful, depending on your needs. If you do not plan to modify the compile-time defaults or do not have a particularly unusual site, downloading the binaries can probably save you some time, and current packaging tools make software upgrades much easier to track. As many as half of the downloads of the latest Samba 2.2 release from the main Web and FTP server at samba.org were of some form of a precompiled package.

Obtaining a Samba binary release is very similar to obtaining a source code release. The first place to look is the Samba home page (http://samba.org); select the FTP or HTTP site closest to you. If you use HTTP to download the files, follow the download link from the Samba mirror home page and look for information on downloading binary packages. If you use FTP, look for a directory named /pub/samba/bin-pkgs/ or /pub/samba/Binary_Packages/, and then select your operating system.

Binary packages are not available for all platforms on which Samba can be compiled, nor are they always available for the latest source code release. The reason is that volunteers compile and upload the packages. If possible, the binaries and associated files, such as sample smb.conf files, are archived using the tools native for the OS. For example, Red Hat binaries are stored using RPM, and Solaris binaries are distributed in the pkgtool format. The details of the package distribution tools for various operating systems are beyond the scope of this book. If you need more information on the binary distribution tool for your operating system (for example, pkgadd on Solaris 2.x, rpm on Red Hat Linux, or dpkg on Debian GNU/Linux), refer to the man pages for the installation tool used on your system.

Another source of precompiled Samba packages is your OS vendor. Previously, this could be said only about Linux vendors. However, this is now also true for commercial Unix vendors, such as SGI, IBM, and HP.

Now that you have the current version of Samba and the binaries are ready to go, Hour 4, "Starting Your Feet to Dance," helps you get a sample installation up and running.

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