Samba and LDAP

This section covers the integration of Samba with LDAP. The Samba server's role will be that of a "standalone" server and the LDAP directory will provide the authentication layer in addition to containing the user, group, and machine account information that Samba requires in order to function (in any of its 3 possible roles). The pre-requisite is an OpenLDAP server configured with a directory that can accept authentication requests. See OpenLDAP Server for details on fulfilling this requirement. Once this section is completed, you will need to decide what specifically you want Samba to do for you and then configure it accordingly.

Software Installation

There are two packages needed when integrating Samba with LDAP: samba and smbldap-tools.

Strictly speaking, the smbldap-tools package isn't needed, but unless you have some other way to manage the various Samba entities (users, groups, computers) in an LDAP context then you should install it.

Install these packages now:

sudo apt install samba smbldap-tools

LDAP Configuration

We will now configure the LDAP server so that it can accomodate Samba data. We will perform three tasks in this section:

  1. Import a schema

  2. Index some entries

  3. Add objects

Samba schema

In order for OpenLDAP to be used as a backend for Samba, logically, the DIT will need to use attributes that can properly describe Samba data. Such attributes can be obtained by introducing a Samba LDAP schema. Let's do this now.

For more information on schemas and their installation see Modifying the slapd Configuration Database.

  1. The schema is found in the now-installed samba package. It needs to be unzipped and copied to the /etc/ldap/schema directory:

    sudo cp /usr/share/doc/samba/examples/LDAP/samba.schema.gz /etc/ldap/schema
    sudo gzip -d /etc/ldap/schema/samba.schema.gz
  2. Have the configuration file schema_convert.conf that contains the following lines:

    include /etc/ldap/schema/core.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/collective.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/corba.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/cosine.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/duaconf.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/dyngroup.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/inetorgperson.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/java.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/misc.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/nis.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/openldap.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/ppolicy.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/ldapns.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/pmi.schema
    include /etc/ldap/schema/samba.schema
  3. Have the directory ldif_output hold output.

  4. Determine the index of the schema:

    slapcat -f schema_convert.conf -F ldif_output -n 0 | grep samba,cn=schema
    dn: cn={14}samba,cn=schema,cn=config
  5. Convert the schema to LDIF format:

    slapcat -f schema_convert.conf -F ldif_output -n0 -H \
    ldap:///cn={14}samba,cn=schema,cn=config -l cn=samba.ldif
  6. Edit the generated cn=samba.ldif file by removing index information to arrive at:

    dn: cn=samba,cn=schema,cn=config
    cn: samba

    Remove the bottom lines:

    structuralObjectClass: olcSchemaConfig
    entryUUID: b53b75ca-083f-102d-9fff-2f64fd123c95
    creatorsName: cn=config
    createTimestamp: 20080827045234Z
    entryCSN: 20080827045234.341425Z#000000#000#000000
    modifiersName: cn=config
    modifyTimestamp: 20080827045234Z

    Your attribute values will vary.

  7. Add the new schema:

    sudo ldapadd -Q -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f cn\=samba.ldif

    To query and view this new schema:

    sudo ldapsearch -Q -LLL -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -b cn=schema,cn=config 'cn=*samba*'

Samba indices

Now that slapd knows about the Samba attributes, we can set up some indices based on them. Indexing entries is a way to improve performance when a client performs a filtered search on the DIT.

Create the file samba_indices.ldif with the following contents:

dn: olcDatabase={1}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
add: olcDbIndex
olcDbIndex: uidNumber eq
olcDbIndex: gidNumber eq
olcDbIndex: loginShell eq
olcDbIndex: uid eq,pres,sub
olcDbIndex: memberUid eq,pres,sub
olcDbIndex: uniqueMember eq,pres
olcDbIndex: sambaSID eq
olcDbIndex: sambaPrimaryGroupSID eq
olcDbIndex: sambaGroupType eq
olcDbIndex: sambaSIDList eq
olcDbIndex: sambaDomainName eq
olcDbIndex: default sub

Using the ldapmodify utility load the new indices:

sudo ldapmodify -Q -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f samba_indices.ldif

If all went well you should see the new indices using ldapsearch:

sudo ldapsearch -Q -LLL -Y EXTERNAL -H \
ldapi:/// -b cn=config olcDatabase={1}hdb olcDbIndex

Adding Samba LDAP objects

Next, configure the smbldap-tools package to match your environment. The package comes with a configuration helper script,, that will ask questions.

The smbldap-populate script will then add the LDAP objects required for Samba. It is a good idea to first make a backup of your DIT using slapcat:

sudo slapcat -l backup.ldif

Once you have a backup proceed to populate your directory:

sudo smbldap-populate

You can create a LDIF file containing the new Samba objects by executing sudo smbldap-populate -e samba.ldif. This allows you to look over the changes making sure everything is correct. If it is, rerun the script without the '-e' switch. Alternatively, you can take the LDIF file and import its data per usual.

Your LDAP directory now has the necessary information to authenticate Samba users.

Samba Configuration

There are multiple ways to configure Samba. For details on some common configurations see Samba. To configure Samba to use LDAP, edit its configuration file /etc/samba/smb.conf commenting out the default passdb backend parameter and adding some ldap-related ones:

#   passdb backend = tdbsam

# LDAP Settings
   passdb backend = ldapsam:ldap://hostname
   ldap suffix = dc=example,dc=com
   ldap user suffix = ou=People
   ldap group suffix = ou=Groups
   ldap machine suffix = ou=Computers
   ldap idmap suffix = ou=Idmap
   ldap admin dn = cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com
   ldap ssl = start tls
   ldap passwd sync = yes
   add machine script = sudo /usr/sbin/smbldap-useradd -t 0 -w "%u"

Change the values to match your environment.

Restart samba to enable the new settings:

sudo systemctl restart smbd.service nmbd.service

Now inform Samba about the rootDN user's password (the one set during the installation of the slapd package):

sudo smbpasswd -w password

If you have existing LDAP users that you want to include in your new LDAP-backed Samba they will, of course, also need to be given some of the extra attributes. The smbpasswd utility can do this as well (your host will need to be able to see (enumerate) those users via NSS; install and configure either libnss-ldapd or libnss-ldap):

sudo smbpasswd -a username

You will prompted to enter a password. It will be considered as the new password for that user. Making it the same as before is reasonable.

To manage user, group, and machine accounts use the utilities provided by the smbldap-tools package. Here are some examples:

  • To add a new user:

    sudo smbldap-useradd -a -P username

    The -a option adds the Samba attributes, and the -P option calls the smbldap-passwd utility after the user is created allowing you to enter a password for the user.

  • To remove a user:

    sudo smbldap-userdel username

    In the above command, use the -r option to remove the user's home directory.

  • To add a group:

    sudo smbldap-groupadd -a groupname

    As for smbldap-useradd, the -a adds the Samba attributes.

  • To make an existing user a member of a group:

    sudo smbldap-groupmod -m username groupname

    The -m option can add more than one user at a time by listing them in comma-separated format.

  • To remove a user from a group:

    sudo smbldap-groupmod -x username groupname
  • To add a Samba machine account:

    sudo smbldap-useradd -t 0 -w username

    Replace username with the name of the workstation. The -t 0 option creates the machine account without a delay, while the -w option specifies the user as a machine account. Also, note the add machine script parameter in /etc/samba/smb.conf was changed to use smbldap-useradd.

There are utilities in the smbldap-tools package that were not covered here. Here is a complete list: