TweetFollow Us on Twitter

 Integrating OS X With OpenLDAP/Samba, Part 2

Volume Number: 25 (2009)
Issue Number: 01
Column Tag: Network Administration

Integrating OS X With OpenLDAP/Samba, Part 2

An article, in a series, on "Configuring Your Mac To Work With Linux Samba and LDAP Servers."

by Noah Gift


In Part 1 we covered talking to a Samba Server running on an Ubuntu Virtual Machine, but we stopped at merely obtaining read only access to data. In this article we fully configure Samba on Linux in an ideal configuration for OS X, and then get into authenticating all of this to LDAP on Linux.

Because we delve into a fairly complex undertaking of getting Linux and Samba configured inside of OS X, it is important to point out how powerful this combination truly is. OS X, universally known for simplicity and ease of use, can yet again, hide the complexity of a Linux server within the shadows of its own operating system by using virtualization. Linux servers talking to, and running inside of OS X is a very compelling choice to consider, as it combines the strengths of both platforms, and minimizes their respective weaknesses.

Dirt Simple Home Samba Configuration

In the last article, we downloaded a pre-configured Ubuntu Virtual Machine here: and then got it talking to Samba, but we only had Read-Only access. Now it is time to optimize the configuration file to make file-sharing work completely with OS X for a typical home setup behind a firewall.

If you remember from the previous article, we created a very minimal read only configuration. Here are the steps to get a full read/write configuration working from scratch with zero authentication. This is perfect for a home network behind a firewall, in which no username or password is desired in order to connect to the share/.

If you are still working off of the downloaded virtual machine, then go ahead and edit /etc/samba/smb.conf and add the contents below. (Remember that the username and password is py4sa. Alternately, you can simply use this configuration on existing Ubuntu Virtual Machine or server you already have running.)

Step 1: Edit the smb.conf file

Listing 1: (zero security) samba config /etc/samba/smb.conf

workgroup = home
netbios name = py4sa
security = share
comment = Home File Server
path = /usr/export
force user = py4sa
force group = py4sa
guest ok = yes
read only = no

With this configuration file squared away, next we need to create the actual directory to share out, change the ownership, and restart samba.

Step 2: Create the shared directory mentioned in the configuration file

py4sa@py4sa:~$ sudo mkdir /usr/export

Step 3: Change ownership to match the "forced" user and group privileges we set in the configuration file

py4sa@py4sa:~$ sudo chown -R py4sa:py4sa /usr/export

Step 4: Restart the samba daemon

py4sa@py4sa:~$ sudo killall -HUP smb

With this out of the way, we can perform a command line debugging step first to see if our share is available. Under OS X, we can simply run this command (note that your IP address may be different):

[ngift@macintosh-8][H:743][J:0]# sudo smbclient -L //

Next, we should see some form of output like this:

Domain=[HOME] OS=[Unix] Server=[Samba 3.0.26a]
   Sharename    Type   Comment
   ————-    ——   ———-
   share        Disk   Home File Server
   IPC$         IPC    IPC Service (Samba 3.0.26a)
Domain=[HOME] OS=[Unix] Server=[Samba 3.0.26a]
   Server               Comment
   ————-            ———-
   PY4SA                Samba 3.0.26a
   Workgroup            Master
   ————-            ———-
   HOME                 PY4SA

Here, we can see that our share is indeed alive, and it is named "share", with a comment "Home File Server", just as we wrote. I am a huge advocate of doing the simplest possible thing that will work, and in our situation, this is quite literally, the simplest possible configuration a user could want on a home network.

This configuration creates a simple read/write share that requires no password from a Mac. In the next section, we will go through the connection process.

Mounting Samba Read/Write As Guest

Now, that we have Samba configured, and running, we can simply mount the volume by using "Apple + K". Here is a sequence of screenshots showing the processes.

Figure 1: Connect To The Samba Server

Figure 2: Authenticate as Guest (No password required)

Figure 3: Test Read/Write Privileges

In the sequence of screenshots shown in Figures 1 through 3, we demonstrate how handy this simple "home brew" Samba Server really is. It allows us to setup read/write privileges for a guest user in seconds. Having this tip in your back pocket can sure get you out of some potential problems in a pinch, such as sharing a common web development environment. The nice thing about using a virtual machine running inside of your Mac is that the complexity can simply be turned off when you're done, or alternately, it can run forever as a server inside of a desktop Mac, or perhaps Mac Mini.

Now that we have conquered the simple Samba setup for OS X clients, let's get into conquering the simple LDAP setup for OS X clients.

OS X to Linux LDAP Configuration in 60 Seconds

LDAP is another protocol that can be a complete pain to deal with, as it can get quite complex for the newbie in a hurry. In this section, though, we reuse a pre-configured "vanilla" Ubuntu LDAP server running on the virtual machine we downloaded, and shudder, authenticate our OS X client directly to it in about 60 seconds. One of the reasons why this is so easy is because we have a pre-configured virtual machine, which hides the complexity of setting up LDAP initially from scratch.

Our goal in this section is, once again to do the simplest possible thing that works. Here is a sequence of screenshots of authenticating to LDAP:

Figure 4: Using Directory Utility to create a connection to LDAP

Figure 5: Read the error message, (Note, Linux LDAP doesn't just work out of the box).

Figure 6: We use advanced settings to configure a RFC 2307 mapping (chosen from the drop-down menu).

Figure 7: Still using Directory Utility, we manually add our new LDAP server to the search path.

Figure 8: In the Accounts Preference Pane, we setup "fast user switching," simply to allow easy testing of LDAP user account logins

Authenticating to LDAP from OS X

Now that we are configured to talk to Linux LDAP, let's test it out from the command line by interactively exploring our LDAP session from the awesome "dscl" command line tool.

Listing 2: exploring LDAP from the command line

[ngift@macintosh-8][H:753][J:0]# dscl
Entering interactive mode... (type "help" for commands)
 > ls
 > cd LDAPv3/
/LDAPv3 > ls
/LDAPv3 > cd
/LDAPv3/ > ls
/LDAPv3/ > cd Users/
/LDAPv3/ > ls

This interactive session for the dscl command shows us that we are indeed connected to the LDAP directory on the Linux server, and can see the user accounts on that machine, such as py4sa. Next, let's actually login using that account.

If you notice, we can log in as the py4sa user, but we get a weird error from bash, because there is no home directory specified inside of LDAP.

Listing 3: using py4sa to login

[ngift@macintosh-8][H:761][J:0]# su py4sa  
bash: /home/py4sa/.bashrc: Input/output error
bash-3.2$ whoami

The final thing to test is to actually do a fast user switch login to the new "py4sa" account that gets pulled from the LDAP database on the Virtual Machine. If you go through with the process it will hang for about 30 seconds, and then bring up a warning that it couldn't find the user's home directory, yet still login, to a temporary home directory.

So what does this prove? Well, it proves that we have the simplest possible Samba, and LDAP connections running from a pre-configured virtual machine. Not to shabby for some virtual machine file on your file system.


In this second article in a four part series, we fully configured a Read/Write Samba share running off of a virtual machine. The security was intentionally set to allow not require a user name and password, as this is very appropriate for ad hoc or home networking.

Next, we did the simplest possible LDAP authentication we could by configuring OS X to talk to the same virtual machine. We stopped at really doing anything too useful though, as we weren't able to use a home directory yet. In the next article, we go beyond our simple Home Samba Server, and lightweight LDAP configuration, to setup a sample Enterprise configuration, that ties in home directories, 3rd party LDAP administration tools, and more. In the final and fourth article we then take our enterprise LDAP/Samba configuration, and make tie in authentication to Apache and Trac. This allows for one firecracker of a virtual machine, that again, is just some file sitting on your OS X box.


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 currently works for Weta Digital in New Zealand. Many of his projects and writing are available at He can be contacted at


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

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
Typinator 6.7 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.2 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
ForeverSave 2.1.4 - Universal auto-save...
ForeverSave auto-saves all documents you're working on while simultaneously doing backup versioning in the background. Lost data can be quickly restored at any time. Losing data, caused by... Read more
VueScan 9.5.27 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
AirPort Utility 6.3.6 - Set up and manag...
Note: Most recent release available only within OS X 10.11 El Capitan update. Use AirPort Utility to set up and manage your Wi-Fi network and AirPort base stations, including AirPort Express, AirPort... Read more
Quicksilver 1.3.1 - Application launcher...
Quicksilver is a light, fast and free Mac application that gives you the power to control your Mac with keystrokes alone. Quicksilver allows you to find what you need quickly and easily, then act... Read more
Tidy Up (Five Users) 4.1.5 - Find duplic...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Mellel 3.4.3 - The word processor of cho...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
Skype - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more

Swords & Crossbones: An Epic Pirate...
Swords & Crossbones: An Epic Pirate Story 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Camel Up (Games)
Camel Up 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
The Martian: Bring Him Home (Games)
The Martian: Bring Him Home 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Based on the best selling novel and critically acclaimed film, THE MARTIAN tells the story of Astronaut Mark... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: September 21-30, 2...
Leap Into Fall With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above... | Read more »
Tweetbot 4 for Twitter (Social Networki...
Tweetbot 4 for Twitter 4.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Social Networking Price: $4.99, Version: 4.0 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% off for a limited time. *** | Read more »
Mori (Games)
Mori 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Stop, rewind and unwind with Mori. Time is always running, take a moment to take control. Mori is an action puzzle game about infinitely... | Read more »
100 Years' War (Games)
100 Years' War 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Tower in the Sky (Games)
Tower in the Sky 0.0.60 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 0.0.60 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
hocus. (Games)
hocus. 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: New, polished, mind-bending, minimal puzzle game with dozens of levels and extra-ordinary design Features:- Beautifully crafted... | Read more »
Mos Speedrun 2 (Games)
Mos Speedrun 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mos is back, in her biggest and most exciting adventure ever! Wall-jump to victory through 30 mysterious, action packed levels... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1689, save $...
Adorama has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1689 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $110 off MSRP. Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $12...
B&H Photo has 12″ Retina MacBooks in stock today and on sale for up to $120 off MSRP. B&H will include free shipping, and there is NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1224 $... Read more
Tablets Shaping Up for Growth in 2016 – Strat...
Observing that Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft have refocused what tablet computers can do, market analysis firm Strategy Analytics believes there is immense opportunity for new and replacement sales... Read more
Apple Interbrand’s Number One Most Valuable G...
Apple and Google hold aced #1 and #2 spots respectively in Interbrand’s 2015 Best Global Brands Report, leading all tech brands that now comprise more than a third of the entire rankings value.... Read more
Apple offering refurbished 2015 13-inch Retin...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $270 (15%) off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
Apple refurbished 2015 MacBook Airs available...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Gets Haze Removal...
The latest iteration of Adobe’s powerful consumer image editing appliction Photoshop Elements 14 analyzes your photo and removes background haze, so your shot looks sharp all the way to the horizon... Read more
Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 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: - 15″ 2... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1029.99 $70 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1229 $70 off - 21″ 2.9GHz iMac: $... Read more

Jobs Board

Touch Validation Design (EE) - *Apple* Watc...
**Job Summary** Help launch next-generation Touch Technologies in Apple products. The Touch Technology team develops cutting-edge Touch solutions and technologies that Read more
WW Sales Strategy & Program Manager, *Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* TV Product Design Internship (Spring...
…the mechanical design effort associated with creating world-class products with the Apple TV PD Group. Responsibilities will include working closely with manufacturing, Read more
Product Design Engineer - *Apple* Watch - A...
**Job Summary** Product Design Engineer - WATCH ( Apple Watch) Be an integral part of a small and visible team of world-class Mechanical Engineers making Apple 's Read more
Senior Software System App Engineer, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch system application team is looking for great software engineers who are comfortable working across all levels of the software stack. From Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.