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Samba HowTo Guide
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Features and Benefits

Integration of UNIX and Microsoft Windows NT through a unified logon has been considered a “holy grail” in heterogeneous computing environments for a long time.

There is one other facility without which UNIX and Microsoft Windows network interoperability would suffer greatly. It is imperative that there be a mechanism for sharing files across UNIX systems and to be able to assign domain user and group ownerships with integrity.

winbind is a component of the Samba suite of programs that solves the unified logon problem. Winbind uses a UNIX implementation of Microsoft RPC calls, Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAMs), and the name service switch (NSS) to allow Windows NT domain users to appear and operate as UNIX users on a UNIX machine. This chapter describes the Winbind system, the functionality it provides, how it is configured, and how it works internally.

Winbind provides three separate functions:

  • Authentication of user credentials (via PAM). This makes it possible to log onto a UNIX/Linux system using user and group accounts from a Windows NT4 (including a Samba domain) or an Active Directory domain.

  • Identity resolution (via NSS). This is the default when winbind is not used.

  • Winbind maintains a database called winbind_idmap.tdb in which it stores mappings between UNIX UIDs, GIDs, and NT SIDs. This mapping is used only for users and groups that do not have a local UID/GID. It stores the UID/GID allocated from the idmap uid/gid range that it has mapped to the NT SID. If idmap backend has been specified as ldap:ldap://hostname[:389], then instead of using a local mapping, Winbind will obtain this information from the LDAP database.

Samba HowTo Guide
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