Tag Archives: Debian

Samba 4 experiments

Finally there’s is a great milestone reached in the world of Open Source IT business infrastructure: Samba 4 has achieved stable state and provides us with a free (as beer, and liberal) Active Directory implementation, which, properly packaged and deployed to a suitable environment, seems to work out of the box.

Of course it took a while to figure out how to run such a bleeding edge development on stable Debian. SerNet has done great work in this area. Basically, I use their Debian packages, but rather than installing the iso file of the appliance, I only use their packages, together with recompiled bind9 from sid (or wheezy? I’m sorry, I forgot. Needed the P3 packaging, and dlzones worked fine). The main reason is, I want to run this inside a Xen based (shell only) environment and be ready for normal Debian network based provisioning.

Integration into given LAN environments is another issue. You have to make your central DNS refer to the DC’s DNS, and there are multiple ways to do that. One of my objectives is, to figure out what can be considered best practice here. Getting ready for real life also covers to figure out replication, backup strategies, consistent cross server ID mapping, authentication on the shell level, consistent file access (permissions/ACLs, see also here) across smb and ssh access and last but not least deployment and migration strategies including architectural changes to be done to the given environment.

Test-Installations of Windows are easy to get using VirtualBox. I recommend to setup a basic windows installation with the Default User modified to your preferences (Desktop setup and such trivial things), needed Tools readily installed (like alternative browser, AD admin tools, sysinternals), the vm “syspreped” and then exported. Don’t add to much, as you can do this by rolling out Software using GPOs and a repackager (like Scalable Smart Packager Community Edition, be ready to register).

So, there are some things left to do, but for now, I’m really amazed and I’m taking my hat off to the samba guys, including SerNet.

weird Samba 3.6.10 behavior with ACL masks

I have no idea what’s going on. Some people seem to mention this behavior, but never there is any solution around. It’s only few people, so it looks like a configuration issue, and either it’s really rare or so common that I’m the last who didn’t get it yet. It’s as follows.

I have an experimental setup with a Samba 4 AD instance as Domain controller. The VM that demonstrates the bug is a samba 3.6.10 member server. Both are based on SerNet‘s builds (enterprisesamba and packages from the SerNet Samba 4 Appliance). Everything’s hosted on a Xen machine and made with debian squeeze as the base OS.

Rainbow Shield Bugs on Jatropha,
Ton Rulkens, Mozambique

Inside one share, I have a directory with some ACLs set, with the mask and default mask set to rwx. If I’m now creating a file using the shell, the file’s ACL mask becomes rw which is just correct. If I’m doing the same with samba, the mask will be rwx which is just plain wrong as the file would be executable like this.

I’ve tried many more or less random things like s-flags, samba parameters (inherit acls has no effect, it seems) and googled as described above, but this thing’s going consistently wrong.

Anybody around who knows more or is stunned like I am? Well, I didn’t expect to run into this issue, really not.

I’m giving back!

Whoever helps me to find an answer or even a fix can get some of my knowledge in the form of code: I offer a complete setup for Samba 4 and 3.6 experiments with Debian Squeeze. It incudes a debian packages source with all you need for such a (virtual) environment of this kind, such as an updated bind9 build and integratable S4 packages and a time saving xen-tools role script, which installs a DomU with these package sources, adding SerNet’s 3.6 (remote) sources as well, many often needed standard packages readily installed, /etc/hosts file adapted to the LAN environment, ethtools, NFS4 mounted from DomU (for easy data exchange between VMs, filesystem ACLs readily setup, and an A record added to a DNS zone file on the host system. So that’s all those repeated tasks after xen-create-image that usually take about 30 to 60 minutes every time to turn the installation into a comfortable, accessible and well integrated VM ready to dig into Samba’s Active Directory implementation details, and even taking steps towards a future production environment on a clean debian foundation (we’re not that far though, in my opinion).

Using this role and some more files in /etc/xen-tools/skel, it takes me 15 minutes for a S4-AD DC and a member server provisioned and up running, ready to join a Windows client and access with native AD management tools.

Debian Squeeze: LVM / udev etc. buggy?

This is very unfortunate. Now that this complex server setup is finally ready, LVM starts to throw bugs. Setup is a volume group on a software RAID volume. I can create a snapshot of my Xen-DomU-Volumes, backup them, but as soon as I try to remove the snapshot with lvremove, the command just hangs, and so do all other LVM-commands, even lvs.


I’ve googled around a lot now, but with no results. Consequently, I can not backup my stuff at the moment.

Following a proposal to stop the udev deamon before lvremove, I didn’t get any further either, because this seems to break Xens ethernet bridges somehow (although this is really, really weird, it just shouldn’t!), while being helpful for the Backups. No solution.

And, all similar behavior I find googling relates to Kernel <2.6.16 and LVM2 <2.02. What the Fuck! 2006, 2007…

Anybody out there with the same problem? Or someone with an idea or solution? Anybody desiring more information? please report to me!

I hereby bid US-$60.00 for:


  • a working fix proposed
  • the right information to develop a fix myself


So, if somebody can tell me, what’s going on here between LVM, udev and dm – don’t hesitate to use my contact form. Should your information result in a fix, you get $60. Should two individuals provide equivalent information, the first one wins.

EDIT/UPDATE Jan 2, 2012:

Problem tracked down to potential hardware issue! see comment below! And so far, Debians reputation fixed on approbation! 😉