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Five tools for configuring Samba

Samba lets Linux, Windows, and Mac communicate with one another, but it can be tough to configure. These tools will help reduce your Samba headaches.

Samba is one of those pieces of software that makes life possible within a homogeneous environment. You want Windows, Mac, and Linux to talk to one another, you use Samba. But for some, configuring Samba can be a challenge.

Thankfully, tools are available that can help nearly every skill level with the task. If you're a newbie, there's a tool that can help you get Samba configured. If you're a master, there's always the command line. But which apps are best suited for you? Let's take a look and find out.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: system-config-samba

This is the GUI tool that all new Samba admins should be using. System-config-samba (Figure A) can be installed onto practically any Linux distribution and is incredibly easy to use. With this tool, you can configure the shares to be handed out, as well as the Samba server settings. The GUI isn't cluttered with too many bells and whistles to confuse the user, so getting shares added is as simple as clicking the Add button and filling in a few bits of information.

Figure A

system-config-samba

2: Swat

Swat (Figure B) is the original GUI tool for Samba. It's a Web-based tool that allows you to get much deeper into the configuration of Samba than any other tool. Although newbies can use it, they may quickly become intimidated by the number of options available. Once Swat is installed, you reach it by going to:
http://IP_ADDRESS_OF_SERVER:901

Figure B

Swat

3: GAdmin SAMBA

GAdmin SAMBA (Figure B) is part of the GAdmin Tools administration toolkit and doesn't disappoint. This GUI tool can satisfy by any level of experience and will allow the newbie plenty of room to grow. Although there is a bit of a learning curve with this interface, once you've figured it out, you'll be rocking out Samba shares like crazy. GAdmin SAMBA also offers multiple local and remote user and group import and on-the-fly share creation and user handling.

Figure C

GAdmin SAMBA

4: Webmin Samba Module

Webmin, being one of the most powerful administration tools, naturally offers a Samba module. Webmin Samba Module (Figure D) offers everything you want in a Samba administration package: share, printer, share mode configuration as well as the ability to easily manage user access to different shares.

Figure D

Webmin Samba Module

5: Command line

For those of you Samba masters, the command line (Figure E) is the thing. WIth the help of your favorite text editor (such as nano, vi, or emacs), you can configure and manage every single aspect of your Samba server. Naturally, this isn't the tool for new users. But even they should begin to examine the configuration file found in /etc/samba/smb.conf. Learn how your GUI tool configures Samba by viewing this file and eventually you'll be a Samba master as well.

Figure E

Command line

Good options

When working within a business environment, you will more than likely come across the need for Samba. But Samba isn't your average tool that can be easily configured by anyone. You need a certain amount of skill to understand how Samba works. Even so, that doesn't mean you have to deal with overly complicated tools to set up those shares. Plenty of tools out there can get the job done. The five listed here, in my opinion, are the best.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

2 comments
mark.cooper
mark.cooper

Webmin is great because it can be used to manage much more than Samba. I use Webmin to set up and configure squid, shorewall, print servers, etc. I'm a Windows admin but needed to roll my own custom firewall appliances and a print server dedicated to a big LPT only plotter. Webmin is my goto for Linux admin.

dpresley_50201
dpresley_50201

has a decent SAMBA configuration tool. Since PCLOS is my distro of choice, that tool is my goto when I need to configure and run SAMBA.