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

Civilization VI 1.1.0 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more
Network Radar 2.3.3 - $17.99
Network Radar is an advanced network scanning and managing tool. Featuring an easy-to-use and streamlined design, the all-new Network Radar 2 has been engineered from the ground up as a modern Mac... Read more
Printopia 3.0.8 - Share Mac printers wit...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
ForkLift 3.2.1 - Powerful file manager:...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.417 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Little Snitch 4.0.6 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Google Chrome 65.0.3325.181 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
TeamViewer 13.1.2991 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for non... Read more
Printopia 3.0.8 - Share Mac printers wit...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.417 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best games that came out for iPhone...
It's not a huge surprise that there's not a massive influx of new, must-buy games on the App Store this week. After all, GDC is happening, so everyone's busy at parties and networking and dying from a sinister form of jetlag. That said, there are... | Read more »
Destiny meets its mobile match - Everyth...
Shadowgun Legends is the latest game in the Shadowgun series, and it's taking the franchise in some interesting new directions. Which is good news. The even better news is that it's coming out tomorrow, so if you didn't make it into the beta you... | Read more »
How PUBG, Fortnite, and the battle royal...
The history of the battle royale genre isn't a long one. While the nascent parts of the experience have existed ever since players first started killing one another online, it's really only in the past six years that the genre has coalesced into... | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Oh hi nice reader, and thanks for popping in to check out our weekly round-up of all the stuff that you might have missed across the Steel Media network. Yeah, that's right, it's a big ol' network. Obviously 148Apps is the best, but there are some... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
It might not have been the greatest week for new releases on the App Store, but don't let that get you down, because there are some truly incredible games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now. Seriously, you could buy anything on this list and I... | Read more »
Everything You Need to Know About The Fo...
In just over a week, Epic Games has made a flurry of announcements. First, they revealed that Fortnite—their ultra-popular PUBG competitor—is coming to mobile. This was followed by brief sign-up period for interested beta testers before sending out... | Read more »
The best games that came out for iPhone...
It's not been the best week for games on the App Store. There are a few decent ones here and there, but nothing that's really going to make you throw down what you're doing and run to the nearest WiFi hotspot in order to download it. That's not to... | Read more »
Death Coming (Games)
Death Coming Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: (iTunes) Description: --- Background Story ---You Died. Pure and simple, but death was not the end. You have become an agent of Death: a... | Read more »
Hints, tips, and tricks for Empires and...
Empires and Puzzles is a slick match-stuff RPG that mixes in a bunch of city-building aspects to keep things fresh. And it's currently the Game of the Day over on the App Store. So, if you're picking it up for the first time today, we thought it'd... | Read more »
What You Need to Know About Sam Barlow’s...
Sam Barlow’s follow up to Her Story is #WarGames, an interactive video series that reimagines the 1983 film WarGames in a more present day context. It’s not exactly a game, but it’s definitely still interesting. Here are the top things you should... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Thursday roundup of the best 13″ MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has new 2017 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Their prices are the lowest available for... Read more
Sale: 9.7-inch 2017 WiFi iPads starting at $2...
B&H Photo has 9.7″ 2017 WiFi Apple iPads on sale for $40 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and pay sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 32GB iPad WiFi: $289, $40 off – 128GB iPad WiFi: $... Read more
Roundup of Certified Refurbished iPads, iPad...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 9.7″ WiFi iPads available for $50-$80 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each iPad, and shipping is free: – 9″ 32GB WiFi iPad: $... Read more
Back in stock! Apple’s full line of Certified...
Save $300-$300 on the purchase of a 2017 13″ MacBook Pro today with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model from any reseller. A... Read more
Wednesday deals: Huge sale on Apple 15″ MacBo...
Adorama has new 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $250-$300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NJ and NY only: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished Series 3 A...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Series 3 Apple Watch GPS models available for $50, or 13%, off the cost of new models. Apple’s standard 1-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. Numerous... Read more
12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook on sale for $11...
B&H Photo has the Space Gray 12″ 1.2GHz MacBook on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199 $... Read more
Mac minis available for up to $150 off MSRP w...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Back in stock: 13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Ce...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (MD101LL/A) available for $829, or $270 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: – 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook... Read more
Apple restocks Certified Refurbished 2017 13″...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air (... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Genius - Technical Customer Service...
Job Description:Job SummaryAs a Genius at the Apple Store, you maintain customers' trust in Apple as the skilled technical customer service expert, Read more
Metadata Operations Specialist, *Apple* Med...
# Metadata Operations Specialist, Apple Media Products Job Number: 113387726 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 08-Feb-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
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
Data Scientist, *Apple* Ecosystem (AMP Anal...
# Data Scientist, Apple Ecosystem (AMP Analytics) Job Number: 113428728 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 24-Jan-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
# Apple Professional Learning Specialist Job Number: 113456892 Englewood, NJ, New Jersey, United States Posted: 02-Feb-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.