TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MacEnterprise: Understanding SMB in OS X

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 08
Column Tag: Networks

Understanding SMB in OS X

There are many more pieces than you may realize

By Philip Rinehart, Yale University

SAMBA

This month, the MacEnterprise community has been talking about Samba, and how OS X uses it, both on Server and Client. It's a bit of an interesting topic, as both use a version of Samba, 3.0.10, that is slightly out of date, as the current version of Samba shipping is 3.0.25a. It is interesting to note that the Finder does not primarily use the underlying samba framework, but instead uses mount_smbfs, a command from the FreeBSD project instead. First let's look at this particular command.

Mount_SambaFS

Mount_smbfs is a bit of an oddity. It appears to have been included in OS X to take advantage of OS X frameworks. It is linked heavily to the CoreFoundation framework in particular. It also allows for Kerberos authentication, which has only recently appeared in Samba 3.0 or higher. Its usage is pretty simple, and follows the same syntax, both in the Finder and from the command line. In fact, when connecting via the Finder to a share, the command appears in the process list when initiating the connection. Here is the command as it appears in the process list.

/sbin/mount_smbfs -o noautomounted -o browse //user:**************@sambashare /Volumes/sambashare

Let's look at this command a bit further; note the two options used with the -o switch. Neither of these options appear in the manual page for the command. Omit the two options, and the command appears as invoked from the command line. Why is that important to know? It is important, because often many users use smbclient to connect to the Samba share and assume that smbclient behaves in the same way. Now that you know that the Finder uses mount_smbfs, it may or may not be an effective way to test Samba connectivity. If testing the connection via the Finder, use mount_smbfs. Unfortunately, it does not provide as much debugging information as smbclient does.

Another source of frustration for some users is OS X, by default, uses encrypted passwords when connecting to a Samba share. In fact, an Apple knowledge base article, 301580, exists that describes the creation of a configuration file, nsmb.conf, which allows clear text authentication. It should be noted that a file can be created per user as well, .nsmbrc. Let's look at a short example:

[default]
workgroup=WORKGROUP
# this is the server name and ip
[WINDOWS]
address=192.168.1.130
[WINDOWS:USERNAME]
password=my_password

By putting this file in a user's home directory the Samba share will be mounted automatically using the stored password. Note that the password should be stored in encrypted format. To generate the encrypted password, use smbutil. Here's how:

smbutil crypt my_password

Include this in the nsmbrc file, and the Finder will no longer ask for authentication. That pretty much sums up the way that OS X client connects to Samba shares. The Server side is the source of most other common problems.

WINDOWS File Shares

Now that we understand how a client connects to file shares, are there any particular hints for dealing with Windows file shares? Sure, here are some that should be considered:

OS X client cannot connect to a Windows 2003 server if the server has the "digitally sign communication" option enabled. Disable this option to allow a successful connection. The Finder usually will show an Error -5000. It is commonly known as "SMB Signing". For more information on this option, refer to the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/887429.

Shares created on a Windows file share generally work most successfully when the user connects with "Full permissions" on the file share. Without full permissions, the Finder may not display any file or folder in the share point.

SAMBA

Let's move to a frequently discussed topic, the use of Samba as implemented on OS X. One of the commonly discussed issues is the use of an older version of Samba, version 3.0.10, in OS X. Samba is also compiled in a particular way, and may not include modules that are required. Recently, a method for recompiling certain modules appeared on the MacEnterprise list. If this is of interest, search the list archives, as the procedure is fairly complex.

Another oddity with Samba is that it does not respect the use of ctime. Why is this relevant? Consider the possibility of controlling backups of files, if the ctime is being used to control whether the file is backed up or not, the inability of Samba to set the ctime could become a problem.

Next, when using Samba in conjunction with Active Directory, check the smb.conf file for the following entries:

Use spnego=yes
Realm=Ad.realm.name
Security=ads

Though generally not an issue any more in Tiger server, when joining a machine to Active Directory and hosting Samba file services via OS X in earlier versions, these options were not consistently set.

Lastly, when using Samba, on server or client, the log level can be tuned. The following entry can be added to the /etc/smb.conf file:

   
log level = [1-10]

Turning up the log level can be very useful when debugging a troublesome connection. At a level of 10, the logging can be quite a handful to parse through, but it may better point to the source of the connection problem.

Windows PRINTING

The last issue that is somewhat common is connecting to a shared Windows printer from OS X. Usually the printer is shared as a "Guest" printer by the Windows machine. However, when printing, an "NT_STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED" error message is returned. OS X does not work without credentials when printing to a Windows shared printer. The most successful method of connecting works by adding the printer using the URI formatted this way:

smb://user:password@DOMAIN/1.2.3.4/Printername

Sometimes adding this via the Printer Setup Utility will work, sometimes not. If it does not work, using the CUPS web interface at http://localhost:631 will allow the printer to be added. It has the additional benefit of being able to print a test page!

In a heterogeneous world, understanding Samba and Windows file and print sharing is a complex and sometimes difficult operation. Often, the configuration or the tools that we have talked about may provide a solution. Until next month, see you on the lists!


Philip Rinehart is co-chair of the steering committee leading the Mac OS X Enterprise Project (macenterprise.org) and is the Lead Mac Analyst at Yale University. He has been using Macintosh Computers since the days of the Macintosh SE, and Mac OS X since its Developer Preview Release. Before coming to Yale, he worked as a Unix system administrator for a dot-com company. He can be reached at: philip.rinehart@yale.edu. The MacEnterprise project is a community of IT professionals sharing information and solutions to support Macs in an enterprise. We collaborate on the deployment, management, and integration of Mac OS X client and server computers into multi-platform computing environments.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

How to become the ultimate robot warrior...
Chrono Strike is a delightfully immersive beat ‘em up with a sense of humor (any game with a good Sims reference gets points in my book). [Read more] | Read more »
Tips and tricks to get a higher score in...
Snow Roll is a devilish endless runner very much in the vein of Flappy Bird. It revels in its dastardly level of difficulty, and doesn’t really care how angry you get at it as it knows you’ll keep coming back for more. [Read more] | Read more »
How to win big in Slots Deluxe
Cheating while gambling is illegal and morally wrong, and in some parts of the world it leads to men with names like Vinnie "Six Knuckles" Manchenzo beating you to a pulp in a dark alley. [Read more] | Read more »
How to take over the world in Dictator 2
Running a country isn't easy - especially when you're a dictator who wants to take over the world and crush everyone in your path while you do it. [Read more] | Read more »
Tips and tricks to get a higher score in...
Tank.iois - you guessed it! - another multiplayer arena battler likeAgar.io and Slither.io. It does differentiate itself by putting you in a tiny tank though, so it's not exactly the same. To help you get that all-important high score, we've got a... | Read more »
How to unlock characters in One Tap Tenn...
As the title suggests, One Tap Tennis requires only a single tap to play its particular brand of tennis, and rewards you with a ton of unlockable characters if you perform well. Fortunately for you, we at 148Apps have got a few tips and tricks to... | Read more »
Grab it now: Game Craft’s Legend of War...
The real time strategy game is now available for you to sink your teeth into, through the App Store and Google Play. Combining elements of skill, strategy and empire building, Legend of War is a real gamers’ game. [Read more] | Read more »
Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka (Gam...
Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Skateboard Party is back! This third edition of the popular sports franchise features professional skater... | Read more »
Cubious (Games)
Cubious 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubious – How smart are you? How high is your IQube? Solve the impossible puzzles to find out, and help a lost little cube find his... | Read more »
Goat Simulator Waste of Space (Games)
Goat Simulator Waste of Space 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICESiPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better.** | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Enterprise Workers Pick Technology Over Perks...
New Adobe study shows surprising attitudes about office jobs and where the future of work is heading. Adobe has released survey findings revealing that a surprising 70 percent of U.S. office workers... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: $50-$100 off 11-in...
B&H Photo has 13″ and 11″ MacBook Airs with 256GB SSDs on sale for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100 off MSRP... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sales: Apple MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sales: Apple iMacs and M...
Take up to $150 off the price of a new iMac or Mac mini at the following Apple resellers this Memorial Day weekend: iMacs: B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP... Read more
Apple refurbished Retina MacBook Pros availab...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Apple refurbished 11-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $170 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Goal Zero and OtterBox Partner to Expand iPh...
Goal Zero, specialists in portable power, have announced a partnership with OtterBox, brand smartphone case protection, to offer the Slide and Slide Plus Batteries as modules compatible with the new... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more
Clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available for $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799... Read more
Apple refurbished Apple TVs available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 32GB and 64GB Apple TVs available for up to $30 off the cost of new models. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Architect - AECOM (United States)
**Requisition/Vacancy No.** 132759BR **Position Title** Apple Architect **Job Category** Information Technology **Business Line** Government **Country** United Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Project Engineer - Smart Source Inc...
SmartSource is in need of an Apple Project Engineer for a 12 month contract opportunity in Pittsburg, PA. Role: Apple Project Engineer Location: Pittsburg, PA Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
Service Assistant - *Apple* Chevrolet *App...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer...and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive, we Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.