The team behind the Samba Project has released version 4.0 of its open source Windows interoperability software suite, the first version to offer full compatibility with Microsoft’s Active Directory protocols.
The Samba stack is by far the most popular solution for networking non-Microsoft platforms with Windows machines, but previous versions only provided Windows NT Domain Controller functionality.
According to the Samba Team’s press release, Samba 4 can now act as an Active Directory Domain Controller and offer services to any currently supported versions of client-side Windows, including Windows 8.
Servers running the new Samba support typical Active Directory features, including Group Policy and Roaming Profiles. They can also integrate with Microsoft Exchange servers, and they can even be managed using Microsoft’s own administration tools.
In addition, the new version offers full interoperability with Microsoft Active Directory servers. A Samba 4 server can be joined to an existing Active Directory domain, and Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controllers can join a Samba 4 server.
What all of this means is that for the first time, organizations have the option of replacing one or more Microsoft Active Directory servers – currently priced starting at $501 apiece for the small business version and scaling up to the Moon – with alternatives based on 100 per cent free software, via Samba 4.0 running on Linux or some other free OS.