John Terpstra of the Samba Team I had the honor and pleasure of hearing John Terpstra speak last evening at the monthly meeting of the Boston Network Users Group. John is best known as a co-founder of Samba and current member of the Samba Team along with Andrew Tridgell and many others. From the Samba website, "Samba is an Open Source/Free Software suite that provides seamless file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients. Samba is freely available under the GNU General Public License.".

John gave two talks at the meeting, the first on Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and the second what's new in Samba 3.0. John is a very passionate speaker and quite a good story teller, which is hard to do when it comes to such technical topics. During the FLOSS talk, he evangelized that FLOSS holds the keys to innovation.

John emphazised what sounds like his mission statement:
"Non-proprietary and open source software development does not equate with the destruction of innovation".

Several points made regarding FLOSS included:

  • "Open Source Software is supported, by golly. If you send a good description of a problem [to the Samba list] and happen to include your phone number there's a very good chance someone is going to ring you."

  • Open Source Software makes money by selling support and services.

  • Warranties are unncessary in Open Source Software because everyone can contribute, fix, improve, and innovate the software.

  • The domination of proprietary software promotes the erosion of liberties in a free society.

Later, John turned his attention to Samba 3.0 during the second half of the talk, chock full of many shameless plugs of his new book, The Official Samba-3 HOW-TO and Reference Guide. The best part of the talk was when John described the new "fake permissions module". Windows clients logged into a Windows domain controller actually need to have write access to some kind of a dat file on the server. "How ludicrous is that?", John spouted. If the server tells the client that it was not successful when writing to this file, well then the client goes into a blue screen of death. The Samba team wasn't going to enforce a policy where clients had this level of access to an important file on the server, so they implemented the fake permissions module. Continuing in his thick australian accent with a wink and a big thumbs up he said, "When the [Windows] client asks the [Samba] server if it got the data and wrote the file, Samba intercepts the message, pipes it to /dev/null, and replies to the client You betcha nelly we wrote to that file!! ". The audience just roared at that while sharing in the humor of having pulled the wool over Windows' proverbial eyes.

The discussion went on at a more technical level while new features of Samba 3.0 were outlined, including:

John Terpstra Signing Autographs

  • improved pbdedit

  • improved net command

  • improved profiles

  • improved editreg

  • improved SWAT administration

  • dramatcially improved documentation

  • new wrepld

  • new winbindd

  • new group-mapping .tdb.

Before rolling out to a local pub with the group, John took a moment to sign autographs in the fresh copies of the new Samba-3 HOW-TO and Reference Guide that were being sold at discount by a rep from Prentice Hall. The book was already pre-autographed by Bruce Perens as well, who was in town the night before.

"Find the Gold! Make it work for you. Pass it on! Enjoy Samba. Cheers, John Terpstra"

"Happy Hacking!! Bruce Perens"