Samba 4 Brings Open Source To Active Directory

My, how times change!

Last week finally saw the release of Samba 4.0, the latest version of the popular open source network file system. Emphasis on the word finally, as the last major version number was released all the way back in 2003. But more importantly, Samba 4.0 now boasts full Active Directory compliance.

Millions around the world have relied on Samba on various platforms, but now users of Microsoft products can finally and confidently integrate the latest version of the open source software.

Surprisingly, Microsoft itself provided active help. In fact, the director of development for Windows Server, Thomas Pfenning was quotes as saying:

“Active Directory is a mainstay of enterprise IT environments, and Microsoft is committed to support for interoperability across platforms. We are pleased that the documentation and interoperability labs that Microsoft has provided have been key in the development of the Samba 4.0 Active Directory functionality.”

This is an almost 180° from the views of Microsoft executives a few years back. They were anything but thrilled Samba at that time. The general manger for Microsoft Platform Strategy back in 2006, Bill Hiff had noted then:

“With Samba I’m really familiar with that technology and I’d say that a lot of what they do under the guise of interoperability is clone ability. I wouldn’t say it’s a great relationship but we have a working relationship. They ask things of us and we say, “That’s our IP.” And they say you should do it because all software should be free.”

It almost all came down to the open source nature of the software.

But needless to say, version 4.0 of Samba is here, and Microsoft actively helped in its development. Several Microsoft engineers helped the developers test interoperability and whatnot.

All’s well that ends in a well, as they say.

Prior version of Samba ran on most Unix systems like Linux, Solaris, AIX as well as the BSD variants (including Apple’s Mac OS X Server). Now you can add Microsoft products to the list.

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