TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Integrating OS X With OpenLDAP/Samba, Part 1

Volume Number: 24
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Network Administration

Integrating OS X With OpenLDAP/Samba, Part 1

Configuring Your Mac To Work With Linux Samba and LDAP Servers

by Noah Gift


OS X is an incredible machine, of course, if you are reading this magazine, I didn't need to tell you that. It has arguably, the finest User Interface ever known to man, yet it has a beautiful Unix engine purring under the hood. OS X Server also has a somewhat forward thinking User Interface for managing the raw power of true Unix, as it elegantly hides the real world complexity of dealing with things like Apache and Open LDAP.

While OS X Server is certainly a fine piece of engineering, it might interest many to know, that configuring OS X to talk to a Linux infrastructure is fairly straightforward. I still remember fondly, when parts of OS X had to be altered, in an undocumented way, just to get it to work perfectly with Linux and Unix systems, but many of those problems have disappeared over the years. Virtualization, Leopard, and the further enhancement of Linux, has created a very opportune moment for OS X/Linux relations.

In this article, we explore the basics of getting started with using Samba hosted on a Linux Virtual Machine. Future articles will get deeper into Open LDAP/Samba integration.

Talking Virtually

As I mentioned earlier, virtualization has eased the difficulty of working with Linux. One of the reasons is that, in some respects, the Linux Operating System has become like a document that you open and close. If someone writes a great template for an invoice or resume in Microsoft Word, or iWork Pages, then you simply open the file, and fill in the blanks.

With the current advances in virtualization a Linux operating system can be almost as easy to work with as Microsoft Word. For a recent book I wrote, we released a free, as in beer, Ubuntu 7.10 virtual machine that is pre-configured with OpenLDAP and Samba. You can download it here, start it with VMWare Fusion, and then just play it:

The username and password for everything on the virtual machine is py4sa, including the Samba service we will use in this article.

Getting To Know Samba

If you are on old Mac guy or gal, you may be more familiar with AFP, or Apple File Protocol, than with Samba. Briefly, Samba is Open Source/Free software that has been around since 1992, and it enables File and Print sharing over the SMB/CIFS protocol. SMB originated with Microsoft as a network sharing protocol for Windows.

Samba is pre-installed on OS X and you can easily create a samba share on your Mac by simply selecting File Sharing under Sharing in System Preferences, as seen in the screenshot:

Figure 1: Sharing

In our case, though, we are going to use virtualization to talk to a share we create inside of the virtual machine we downloaded, so instead of serving the share, our Mac will be the client.

Firing Up A Virtual Machine

If you downloaded the Virtual Machine you should perform the following steps to make sure you get up to speed to follow the rest of the article. If you have problems with the virtual machine networking, or don't want to download a 500MB file, don't worry, because in a later article we go into detail about how to configure this from scratch. Note, you will need to have a copy of VMWare fusion to follow along.

Step 1: Start the Virtual Machine

Step 2: Once running, log in with py4sa as the username and password

Step 3: Double check that samba started by typing at the shell:

sudo /etc/init.d/samba 

Step 4: Ensure Network Is Working by typing at shell


Here is a screenshot of what this looks like a successfully running virtual machine:

Figure 2: Verifying VM Is Working Properly

Creating A Linux Samba Share On A VM

If you performed the previous steps and everything working, the rest is just as easy. We can simply edit the samba configuration file and add a share for us to connect to. To do this just edit this file: /etc/samba/smb.conf with vim, or your favorite text editor, and add these lines to the bottom:

Listing 1: Adding lines to /etc/samba/smb.conf

path = /usr

Next, just restart the samba service so it rereads the config file by typing in:

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

Now simply browse to the share PY4SA, by creating a new Finder window, as shown in the figure below and authenticating. If you follow along with the steps below you will be able to obtain Read Only Access to the /usr directory on the virtual machine.

Figure 3: Logging in to a Samba share

Figure 4: Authenticating to the share

Figure 5: Read Only Access Trying To Create Directory In Share

Notice, as shown in Figure 5 above, that if you try to create a file onto the share you get an access privileges error. We only have Read Only access! This is because of the extremely basic configuration for [share] we set up. If you are brave, feel free to dig into the smb.conf and fix the problem. Otherwise, next month we go all out on creating a realistic permission structure for an Enterprise or a Home. For now, just getting a virtual server up and running, and then connecting to it is a good stride.


In this article, we began to think about how a virtualized Linux infrastructure might make sense for OS X clients. We created a one way, Read Only connection to an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine via a SMB share we created ourselves.

In the next article we dig in deep and configure LDAP and Samba to work together, create a realistic share permission structure, and authenticate our Mac's directory to a Linux LDAP server, as well as get familiar with managing LDAP through various native and foreign tools.


Noah Gift. "How To Build A Dirt Easy NAS with Samba". Red Hat Magazine,

Noah Gift. Getting Started With Open Directory. O'Reilly.

Noah Gift and Jeremy Jones. Python For Unix and Linux Systems Administration. O'Reilly. ISBN: 0596515820

Noah Gift has been a Mac user since his family bought a Macintosh Performa 6300 in 1992, and started connected to BBS networks immediately and then eventually the World Wide Web in 1993 when it become open to the public. He is the co-author of Python For Unix and Linux System Administration by O'Reilly, and the upcoming Google App Engine In Action by Manning.

Noah has a couple of decades of experience in the television and film industry starting off as an editor for ABC Network News as a teenager. He contributed to the first feature animated film for Disney Feature Animation and Sony Imageworks. He also had stints at Turner Studios and Caltech, where he worked for the Nobel Prize winning President as a Mac expert. He has a Master's degree in CIS, and is LPI and ACSA certified. He also organizes PyAtl, the local Python programmers user group in Atlanta.

Currently Noah is consultant, writer and speaker, specializing in OS X/Unix, Linux, Python, and Web development for his company, GiftCS, Many of his projects and writing are available at He can be contacted at


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

ExpanDrive - Access cloud storag...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Markly 1.5.3 - Create measurement and de...
Markly is a measurement and design-spec plugin/extension for Photoshop and Sketch. It is made for modern Web designers and app front-end developers. You can add specification marks simply by clicking... Read more
Suitcase Fusion 6 17.3.0 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 6 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.2 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
calibre 2.40.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Vivaldi - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
OmniPlan 3.0 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.11 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client fo...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
Tweetbot 2.1 - Popular Twitter client. (...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
MacPilot 8.0 - Enable over 1,200 hidden...
MacPilot gives you the power of UNIX and the simplicity of Macintosh, which means a phenomenal amount of untapped power in your hands! Use MacPilot to unlock over 1,200 features, and access them all... Read more

Balloony Land offers a fresh twist on th...
Balloony Land by Palringo offers a fresh twist on the match three genre and is out now on iOS and Android. First-off, you'll be popping balloons instead of crushing candy and the balloons will float up and fill the empty spaces instead of dropping... | Read more »
Graphic - vector illustration and design...
Graphic - vector illustration and design 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Autodesk Graphic is a powerful full-featured vector drawing and illustration application right in... | Read more »
Sago Mini Babies (Education)
Sago Mini Babies 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing the Sago Mini babies. Boys and girls love caring for these adorable characters. Feed Robin her favorite mush... | Read more »
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip (H...
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Healthcare & Fitness Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Super Sharp (Games)
Super Sharp 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Your finger has never been so sharp! Cut with skill to complete the 120 ingenious physics levels of Super Sharp and become a cut... | Read more »
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone...
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Assembly is the easiest most powerful design tool on the App Store. Create anything you can... | Read more »
Dub Dash (Games)
Dub Dash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU READY FOR THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? UNIQUE SYMBIOSIS OF MUSIC AND GRAPHICS | Read more »
Leave Me Alone (Games)
Leave Me Alone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 33% off launch sale!!! Somewhere between the 1980s and 1990s there exists a world that never was. A world of skatepunks,... | Read more »
YAMGUN (Games)
YAMGUN 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The invasion has begun! Protect the walls of the citadel against waves of enemies! But watch out, you will soon run out of ammo...... | Read more »
Chesh (Games)
Chesh 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It’s like chess, only not at all. ***40% off for a limited time to celebrate our launch!*** Chesh is a game of skill, strategy, luck,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $... Read more
TP-LINK Next-Gen Routers Support a Large Numb...
TP-LINK, specialists in consumer and business networking products, have announced the availability of Archer C2600, the company’s next-generation router featuring wireless AC, multi-user MIMO, and 4-... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Save up to $350 with Apple refurbished iMacs
Apple has Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $350 off MSRP - 27... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2818.99, $181 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3699... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP, fre...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, $150 off MSRP... Read more
Twelve South Redesigns BookArc For Today’s Sm...
Twelve South has announced a redesigned version of their very first product, BookArc for MacBook. Tailored specifically for the newest generation of MacBooks, BookArc holds the new, smaller Apple... Read more
Phone 6s Tips & Tricks – Tips Book For iP...
Poole, United Kingdom based Tap Guides Ltd. has announced the release and immediate availability of iPhone 6s Tips & Tricks, an in-depth eBook available in the iBookstore that’s priced just $2.99... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $994,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $994.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $105 off MSRP. Price valid... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant -Bilingual, Chi...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
SW QA Engineer - *Apple* TV - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple TV team is looking for experienced Quality Assurance Engineers with a passion for delivering first in class home entertainment solutions. **Key Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.