The team behind the Samba file, print, and authentication server suite for Microsoft Windows clients announced the release of Samba version 4 yesterday. This version includes significant new capabilities that offer an open source replacement for many enterprise infrastructure roles currently delivered exclusively by Microsoft software, including acting as a domain controller, providing SMB2.1 protocol support, delivering clustering, and offering a virtual filesystem (VFS) interface. It comes with Coverity security certification and easy upgrade scripts. The release notes include details of all changes.
Notably, this includes the first open source implementation of Microsoft’s Active Directory protocols; Samba previously only offered Windows NT domain controller functions. According to the press release, “Samba 4.0 provides everything needed to serve as an Active Directory Compatible Domain Controller for all versions of Microsoft Windows clients currently supported by Microsoft, including the recently released Windows 8.”
Samba 4 can join existing Active Directory domains and provides all necessary function to host a domain that can be joined by Microsoft Active Directory servers. It provides all the services needed by Microsoft Exchange, as well as opening up the possibility of fully open source alternatives to Exchange such as the OpenChange project.