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Samba HowTo Guide
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What Is Browsing?

To most people, browsing means they can see the MS Windows and Samba servers in the Network Neighborhood, and when the computer icon for a particular server is clicked, it opens up and shows the shares and printers available on the target server.

What seems so simple is in fact a complex interaction of different technologies. The technologies (or methods) employed in making all of this work include:

  • MS Windows machines register their presence to the network.

  • Machines announce themselves to other machines on the network.

  • One or more machines on the network collate the local announcements.

  • The client machine finds the machine that has the collated list of machines.

  • The client machine is able to resolve the machine names to IP addresses.

  • The client machine is able to connect to a target machine.

The Samba application that controls browse list management and name resolution is called nmbd. The configuration parameters involved in nmbd's operation are:

Browsing options:

  • os level
  • lm announce
  • lm interval
  • preferred master(*)
  • local master(*)
  • domain master(*)
  • browse list
  • enhanced browsing

Name Resolution Method:

  • name resolve order(*)

WINS options:

  • dns proxy
  • wins proxy
  • wins server(*)
  • wins support(*)
  • wins hook

Those marked with an (*) are the only options that commonly may need to be modified. Even if none of these parameters is set, nmbd will still do its job.

For Samba, the WINS Server and WINS Support are mutually exclusive options. When nmbd is started it will fail to execute if both options are set in the smb.conf file. The nmbd understands that when it spawns an instance of itself to run as a WINS server that it has to use its own WINS server also.

Samba HowTo Guide
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