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Samba config, part two: Where can I find a GUI Samba configuration tool?

Where can I find a GUI Samba configuration tool?

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In part one of his discussion of Samba configuration tools, John H. Terpstra offered his view on the upcoming Red Hat Linux Samba configuration tool. In this installment, he addresses the need for a user-friendly focus in Linux tools and offers more Samba configuration tool advice. - Jan Stafford, Site Editor

The Linux community has done little to speak the language of the audience that represents the greatest opportunity for the growth of our industry. Could it be that this is because we have not yet consciously identified who our target customer is?

I have no bias against Red Hat or any other Linux player. Given the events of the past four years, it's clear that we as an industry have done marvelous things. But there is plenty of room for improvement. Those who wish to locate a GUI Samba configuration tool should check the following reference page.

Anyone who uses a GUI configuration tool to administer Samba should make certain that the tool supports the current version of Samba that is in use. SWATT, the Samba-Team Samba Web Admin Tool, ships as part of the main Samba source code. To my knowledge it is the only tool that ties directly to the configuration parameter handler that is part of Samba's smbd and nmbd daemons. This means that SWAT can be depended upon to provide fully current parameter handling and optimization.

Users should note that SWAT will provide the ability to edit configuration settings only if the user logs on as "root." When you commit a change in SWAT it will optimize your smb.conf file by deleting all comments and by deleting all parameters that are at default setting. Some users find the Samba SWAT Wizard a convenient initial setup tool. (In my opinion, the novelty wears off all too quickly though).

If you need to do remote Samba management, then you should either wrap SWAT in an ssl wrapper, or else use SWAT through a tool like Webmin (a web-based interface for system administration).

Configuration tool preferences are a very personal affair. Over the years, I have had many debates on the subject and have yet to find two people who in one place will find agreement on what constitutes the ideal tool.

Here is my definition of the ideal tool. (I know it's wrong, but hang, I feel compelled to get my $0.02 in!) With each item on my wish list, I rate SWAT on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best.

  • A good tool asks for nothing more than minimum input for the requirements at hand. (SWAT fails badly here.)
  • It should be auto-documenting and completely intelligible even without any man pages or documentation. (SWAT scores a 3 here.)
  • It should be intelligently understood by someone who has only minimal knowledge of the subject (SWAT scores a 1.)
  • It should allow rapid initialization and recurrant editing. (SWAT scores a 4 here.)
  • It should allow very advanced configuration in an 'expert' mode. (SWAT scores a 1 here.)

    Did I mention that I am one of the SWAT maintainers? Oops...work to do ... off to work!

    For more information:


    Go back to part one.

    Want to know more about Samba setup? You'll find advice about setting ACLs in Samba for user control here.

    This was first published in February 2003

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