Samba 4.16 Removes the Old SMB1 Protocol

The Samba team has just released version 4.16, which includes removing some of the obsolete components of the SMB 1 file-sharing protocol.

File shares are essential for collaboration in any network. The Samba suite helps you easily share files between Linux and Windows systems.

Samba is a sophisticated tool that lets you share files and printers with SMB/CIFS clients from a Linux server or desktop. You may even link that Linux machine to a Windows Domain via Samba.

Samba 4.16, the project’s current feature update, is now available for users utilizing Samba as an open-source implementation of SMB/CIFS for file/print sharing with Microsoft Windows computers.

Samba 4.16 Highlights

A new samba-dcerpcd binary has been produced to make it much easier to separate the DCERPC services from smbd.

DCE/RPC, short for “Distributed Computing Environment / Remote Procedure Calls,”  is a facility for calling a procedure on a remote machine as if it were a local procedure call.

There are two ways to utilize samba-dcerpcd. First, it can be executed on-demand from smbd or winbind to serve DCERPC via named pipes in the normal situation without startup script modification.

Note that the smb.conf file now has a new parameter rpc start on demand helpers = [true|false] that must be set to run in this mode. By default, this parameter is set to true, implying that no changes to the smb.conf files are required to start samba-dcerpcd as a named pipe helper on demand.

It can also be run independently of smbd or winbind; however, this necessitates changes to the system starting routines and a change to the smb.conf file.

Note that when Samba is configured to run as an Active Directory Domain Controller, the samba binary that supplies the AD code will continue to provide DCERPC services while allowing samba-dcerpcd to provide services like SRVSVC in the same way as smbd did previously.

Samba has incorporated a snapshot of the Heimdal Kerberos implementation since version 4.0. This snapshot has been changed in Samba 4.16 to match what will be released as Heimdal 8.0 soon.

Another exciting change in Samba 4.16 is the ability to add ports to DNS forwarder addresses in the internal DNS backend. It has been assumed that these forwarders listened to port 53 until now.

The port can now be configured using the host:port notation as of this version. Existing configurations are unaffected because the default port is 53.

You probably know that SMB is a nearly 30-year old protocol, and some protocol commands that while supported in all versions, have not seen widespread use.

SMBCopy, a feature for making a server-side copy of a file, is one of them. Unfortunately, this functionality has been unmaintained to the point where Samba lacks a test suite for it. So the developers have decided to remove it from the Samba 4.16 server.

Server-side wildcard expansion is another feature that seems handy but is rarely utilized and has become problematic, requiring the server to perform additional work. Therefore, the ability to parse file name wildcards in requests using SMB1 commands was disabled in Samba 4.16.

Last but not least, we can’t fail to mention that the SMB1 protocol has been deprecated and disabled by default in the new version. The SMB1 protocol is expected to be completely removed from future versions of Samba.

Those interested in learning more about the just-released Samba 4.16 can visit the project’s website for all of the release details.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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