Posts tagged 'samba'

The Samba Buildfarm

Portability has always been very important to Samba. Nowadays Samba is mostly used on top of Linux, but Tridge developed the early versions of his SMB implementation on a Sun workstation.

A few years later, when the project was being picked up, it was ported to Linux and eventually to a large number of other free and non-free Unix-like operating systems.

Initially regression testing on different platforms was done manually and ad-hoc.

Once Samba had support for a larger number of platforms, including numerous variations and optional dependencies, making sure that it would still build and run on all of these became a non-trivial process.

To make it easier to find regressions in the Samba codebase that were platform-specific, tridge put together a system to automatically build Samba regularly on as many platforms as possible. So, in Spring 2001, the build farm was born - this was a couple of years before other tools like buildbot came around.

The Build Farm

The build farm is a collection of machines around the world that are connected to the internet, with as wide a variety of platforms as possible. In 2001, it wasn't feasible to just have a single beefy machine or a cloud account on which we could run virtual machines with AIX, HPUX, Tru64, Solaris and Linux so we needed access to physical hardware.

The build farm runs as a single non-privileged user, which has a cron job set up that runs the build farm worker script regularly. Originally the frequency was every couple of hours, but soon we asked machine owners to run it as often as possible. The worker script is as short as it is simple. It retrieves a shell script from the main build farm repository with instructions to run and after it has done so, it uploads a log file of the terminal output to using rsync and a secret per-machine password.

Some build farm machines are dedicated, but there have also been a large number of the years that would just run as a separate user account on a machine that was tasked with something else. Most build farm machines are hosted by Samba developers (or their employers) but we've also had a number of community volunteers over the years that were happy to add an extra user with an extra cron job on their machine and for a while companies like SourceForge and HP provided dedicated porter boxes that ran the build farm.

Of course, there are some security usses with this way of running things. Arbitrary shell code is downloaded from a host claiming to be and run. If the machine is shared with other (sensitive) processes, some of the information about those processes might leak into logs.

Our web page has a section about adding machines for new volunteers, with a long list of warnings.

Since then, various other people have been involved in the build farm. Andrew Bartlett started contributing to the build farm in July 2001, working on adding tests. He gradually took over as the maintainer in 2002, and various others (Vance, Martin, Mathieu) have contributed patches and helped out with general admin.

In 2005, tridge added a script to automatically send out an e-mail to the committer of the last revision before a failed build. This meant it was no longer necessary to bisect through build farm logs on the web to find out who had broken a specific platform when; you'd just be notified as soon as it happened.

The web site

Once the logs are generated and uploaded to using rsync, the web site at is responsible for making them accessible to the world. Initially there was a single perl file that would take care of listing and displaying log files, but over the years the functionality has been extended to do much more than that.

Initial extensions to the build farm added support for viewing per-compiler and per-host builds, to allow spotting trends. Another addition was searching logs for common indicators of running out of disk space.

Over time, we also added more to the build farm. At the moment there are about a dozen projects.

In a sprint in 2009, Andrew Bartlett and I changed the build farm to store machine and build metadata in a SQLite database rather than parsing all recent build log files every time their results were needed.

In a follow-up sprint a year later, we converted most of the code to Python. We also added a number of extensions; most notably, linking the build result information with version control information so we could automatically email the exact people that had caused the build breakage, and automatically notifying build farm owners when their machines were not functioning.


Sometime in 2011 all committers started using the autobuild script to push changes to the master Samba branch. This script enforces a full build and testsuite run for each commit that is pushed. If the build or any part of the testsuite fails, the push is aborted. This alone massively reduced the number of problematic changes that was pushed, making it less necessary for us to be made aware of issues by the build farm.

The rewrite also introduced some time bombs into the code. The way we called out to our ORM caused the code to fetch all build summary data from the database every time the summary page was generated. Initially this was not a problem, but as the table grew to 100,000 rows, the build farm became so slow that it was frustrating to use.

Analysis tools

Over the years, various special build farm machines have also been used to run extra code analysis tools, like static code analysis, lcov, valgrind or various code quality scanners.

Summer of Code

Of the last couple of years the build farm has been running happily, and hasn't changed much.

This summer one of our summer of code students, Krishna Teja Perannagari, worked on improving the look of the build farm - updating it to the current Samba house style - as well as various performance improvements in the Python code.


The build farm still works reasonably well, though it is clear that various other tools that have had more developer attention have caught up with it. If we would have to reinvent the build farm today, we would probably end up using an off-the-shelve tool like Jenkins that wasn't around 14 years ago. We would also be able to get away with using virtual machines for most of our workers.

Non-Linux platforms have become less relevant in the last couple of years, though we still care about them.

The build farm in its current form works well enough for us, and I think porting to Jenkins - with the same level of platform coverage - would take quite a lot of work and have only limited benefits.

(Thanks to Andrew Bartlett for proofreading the draft of this post.)


OpenChange 2.0 released

Apparently 'tis the season for major software releases.

Julien has just announced the release of OpenChange 2.0, codenamed quadrant. This release fixes a number of important bugs and enables integration with SOGo.

With the SOGo backend, it is now possible to set up an Exchange-compatible groupware server that can be accessed from Outlook without the need to connect any connectors.

See the release notes for more details.


Bazaar: A retrospective

For the last 7 years I've been involved in the Bazaar project. Since I am slowly stepping down, I recently wrote a retrospective on the project as I experienced it for the last 7 years.

Thanks to a few kind people for proofreading earlier drafts; if you spot any errors, please let me know in the comments.


Samba 4.0.0, finally

This afternoon we released version 4.0.0 of Samba. This is a significant milestone, and I'm very proud of the result. Samba 4 is the first version that can be a domain controller in an Active Directory domain.

We embarked on this journey almost a decade ago - the first commit is from August 2003. It's been a long and bumpy ride. I hardly recognize the people in this team photo from 2003 (I'm second from the left).

A lot has happened in that time. We wrote a few million lines of code. We migrated from CVS to Subversion to Git. We've drifted apart and grown back together as a team.

In my youthful naivity I predicted a release "within 1 or 2 years" during a talk at the NLUUG in 2004. But Active Directory was a lot harder than we thought, and there were quite a few other distractions as well. I'm glad this release, which is by far the biggest and longest running software project I have ever worked on, has finally happened.

Some older RCs of Samba 4 have already been packaged for Debian and Ubuntu, in the samba4 source package. For Debian jessie, these will be integrated into the main samba source package. Please use experimental if you do want to try the existing packages, as it is most up to date.


Summer of Code 2011

The Samba team is once again participating in the Summer of Code this year. This year we have 4 students working on various projects related to Samba.

This year I am mentoring Dhananjay Sathe, who is improving the GTK+ frontends for Samba. In particular, he is making it possible to manage shares and users of a remote Samba or Windows machine.

Dhananjay is also blogging about his progress.


On the way to Samba 4: Part 2

It's been more than a month since the last status update on my Samba 4 work - much more than the two weeks I promised.

During the holidays I finally managed to release the new alpha of Samba 4, as well as releases of some of our companion libraries (tdb, talloc, tevent and ldb). The release includes a significant amount of bug fixes and a lot of work towards a properly functioning Active Directory DC, too much to list here.

This release I've mainly been involved in improving our Python bindings and our handling of internal and external libraries. We now use symbol versioning for our copy of Heimdal Kerberos as well as some of our other libraries. Hopefully this will fix some of the issues users of the evolution-mapi plugin have been seeing where they end up with both MIT Kerberos and Heimdal Kerberos loaded into the same process (with all the consequences of overlapping symbol names). Samba 4 now also has the ability to work with the system Heimdal rather than using the bundled copy. I have packaged alpha14 for Debian and Ubuntu (fixing most of the open bugs against the Samba 4 package in the BTS), but am currently waiting for the new release of ldb to pass through NEW before I can upload.

The next release is scheduled for the first week of February.

Currently Playing: Stream of Passion - Haunted


On the way to Samba 4: Part 1

After Samba XP 2008 Andrew and I started keeping a wiki page with our bi-weekly goals and achievements for Samba 4. Because planning in a Free Software project is hard (time availability and priorities change over time, and other volunteers are equally unpredictable) we called this our "Fantasy Page"; it listed things we wanted to work on next ("fantasies"), but reality being what it is we would usually actually end up working on something entirely different. We discussed our progress and new plans in - what I would now call - a bi-weekly standup call.

There were several reasons for doing this. It gave us some sense of direction as well as a sense of accomplishment; a way to look back at the end of the year and realize how much we had actually achieved. Because Samba 4 is such a long term project (it is 7 years old at this point) it is easy to become disillusioned, to look back at a year of commits and to not see the gradual improvement, just the fact that there is no release yet.

We managed to keep this up for two years, much longer than I had anticipated, and eventually started to slip last year.

More recently Kai and Tridge have started to blog weekly about their efforts to make Samba 4.0 a reality and I'm going to join them by trying to blog regularly - every two weeks - about my contributions, even if there were none.

In the next two weeks I plan to work on finally getting alpha 14 of Samba 4 out and on fixing the daily builds of Samba 4 and OpenChange for Ubuntu on Launchpad after we did a massive reorganization of the private libraries in Samba 4.

Current Playing: Zero 7 - Somersault


Mumble and bluetooth

Mumble is an open source, low-latency, high quality voice chat application that we're using at Canonical, and which Samba has recently also adopted.

After I busted the cable of my cabled headset and inspired by Matt's post about Mumble and Bluetooth I bought a cheap Nokia Bluetooth headset that works with my laptop as well as my phone. By using BlueMan I even found that the headset worked out of the box on Maverick.

A nice feature in Mumble is that it is controllable using D-Bus. Blueman supports running an arbitrary command when the answer button is pressed. Combining these two features, it is possible to automatically toggle mute when the answer button is pressed:

import dbus
bus = dbus.SessionBus()
mumble = bus.get_object("net.sourceforge.mumble.mumble", "/")
is_muted = mumble.isSelfMuted()
mumble.setSelfMuted(not is_muted)

To use this script, set its path in the configuration tab for the "Headset" plugin in blueman.

The only remaining problem with this setup is that I can't keep the headset on during my work day, as I don't have a way to put it in standby mode automatically. This means that my battery runs out pretty quickly, even when nothing is happening on Mumble.

Currently Playing: Red Sparowes - Finally As That Blazing Sun Shone


OpenChange server and SOGo

There's more good news on the OpenChange front. Julien has been working together with Wolfgang and Ludovic from Inverse to leverage the server-side support in OpenChange to provide native Exchange server support in SOGo.

A couple of days ago we announced that there now is an initial version that allows the use of Outlook against a SOGo server through OpenChange.

There is a screencast up on youtube (there is also a .mov version of the screencast).

As far as I know, this is the first time it's possible to actually use Outlook clients with a non-Microsoft Exchange-compatible server, without the need for plugins on the Outlook side. And it's all Free Software. Of course, this is just a preview, and not something we'd recommend everybody to run in production just yet. But it's exciting to finally see this come together.

We already have OpenChange packages in Debian and Ubuntu but I hope I can help get SOGo packaged for both distributions as well.


Samba 4 and OpenChange daily Ubuntu packages

Daily builds

As of a month ago there are Ubuntu archives with fresh packages of Samba 4 and OpenChange, built on a daily basis day from the latest upstream revision.

This means that it is now possible to run a version of Samba 4 that is less than 24 hours old, without having to know how to extract source code from the version control system that upstream is using, without having to know how to build and install an application from source, but perhaps most importantly: without having to go through the tedious process of manually updating the source code and rebuilding.

OpenChange is tightly coupled to Samba 4, so installing a new version of OpenChange usually involves installing a new version of Samba 4 as well. To make matters more confusing, the two projects use different version control systems (Samba 4 is in Git, while OpenChange is in Subversion) and different build systems (Samba 4 uses waf, OpenChange uses autoconf and make).

I have been involved in Samba 4 and OpenChange as an upstream developer and more recently also as a packager for both Debian and Ubuntu.

As an upstream developer for both these projects it is important for me that users can easily run the development versions. It makes it possible for interested users to confirm the fixes for issues they have reported and to test new features. The more users run the development version, the more confident I can be as a developer that doing a release will not cause any unexpected surprises.

As a packager it is useful to know when there are upstream changes that are going to break my package with the next release.


The daily builds work using so-called recipes which describe how to build a Debian source package from a set of Bazaar branches. For example, the Samba 4 recipe looks like this:

# bzr-builder format 0.2 deb-version 4.0.0~alpha14~bzr{revno}~ppa{revno:packaging}+{revno:debian}
merge debian lp:~samba-team/samba/unstable
merge packaging lp:~samba-team/samba/4.0-ppa-maverick

This dictates that a source package should be built by taking the upstream Samba branch and merging the Debian packaging and some recipe-specific tweaking. The last bit on the first line indicates the version string to be used when generating a changelog entry for the daily build.

Every night Launchpad (through bzr-builder) merges these branches and attempts to build the resulting source package, e-mailing me in case of build problems. Generally I fix issues that come up by committing directly to upstream VCS or to the Debian packaging branch. There is no overhead in maintaining the daily build after I've set it up.

For more information on creating source package recipes, see getting started.


The entire toolchain that does the daily package builds for Ubuntu is Free Software, and I have contributed to various bits of that toolchain over the years. It's exciting to see everything come together.


Launchpad consists of multiple pillars - one of those pillars is Soyuz, which I hack on as part of my day job at Canonical. Soyuz is responsible for the archive management and package building. Debian source packages (a combination of upstream source code and packaging metadata) get uploaded by users and then built for various architectures on our buildfarm and published to the Ubuntu archive or to users personal package archives.


Another pillar of Launchpad is Launchpad-code, which is responsible for the hosting and management of version control branches. Launchpad users can either host their branches on Launchpad directly or mirror branches (either native Bazaar branches or branches in a foreign format such as Subversion, Git or Mercurial). The mirrorring of native and foreign branches happens using standard Bazaar API's. In the case of Samba and OpenChange we import the branches of the upstream projects (Samba is in Git, OpenChange is in Subversion) and the packaging for both projects is in Bazaar.

Launchad-code calls out to Bazaar to do the actual mirrorring. Over the last few years I have done a lot of work to improve Bazaars support for foreign branches, in particular on supporting Subversion, Git and Mercurial. As the code mirrorring in Launchpad is one of the biggest users of bzr-svn and bzr-git it has helped find some of the more obscure bugs in those plugins over the last few years, to the point where there are only a handful of issues with Git imports and Subversion imports left.

bzr-git and dulwich

bzr-git provides transparent access to Git repositories from within Bazaar and is built on top of Dulwich. Dulwich is a Python library that provides access to the Git file formats and protocols that is completely independent of Bazaar. James Westby originally started it and I adopted it for bzr-git and further extended it. There are now several other projects that use it as well, including hg-git, and rabbitvcs. Apart from James and myself, almost two dozen other people have contributed it so far.

bzr-svn and subvertpy

bzr-svn provides transparant access to Subversion repositories in Bazaar. When I grew frustrated with the existing Subversion Python bindings for various reasons, I decided to create independent Python bindings for Subversion from scratch. These bindings have since been split out into a separate project - subvertpy - and other projects have since also started using them, e.g. hgsubversion and basie.

Using the daily builds

To use the Samba 4 and OpenChange daily builds (Ubuntu Maverick only for now), run:

$ apt-add-repository ppa:samba-team/ppa
$ apt-add-repository ppa:openchange/daily-builds

Currently Playing: Karnivool - Themata


subunit usage in Samba

Both Samba 3 and Samba 4 are now using the "subunit" protocol inside their testsuite (aka "make test"). subunit is a streaming protocol used to report test results that is aimed at being simple to generate and parse as well as being human readable.

A very simple subunit stream might look like this:

test: samba4.tests.util.strlist.check_list_make
creating list...
list created!
success: samba4.tests.util.strlist.check_list_make
test: samba4.tests.util.strlist.check_list_make_shell
creating list...
xfail: samba4.tests.util.strlist.check_list_make_shell [

For those that are familiar with the TAP protocol used by Perl, it is similar to that, although it has a couple of features that TAP does not have. For example, it can report timestamps (useful for determining test duration) and has more flexible progress reporting.

Subunit is particularly useful for projects that use multiple programming languages as it allows a single tool to be used for test visualization or analysis rather than one per language. All that's required per-language is a test runner that can spit out subunit streams., the main engine behind Samba's test suite, has been using subunit internally since its creation a couple of years ago. Most other test tools we use can also report subunit, in particular our Python tests, blackbox tests, Perl tests (using tap2subunit) and smbtorture.

"make test" never displays raw subunit results, it always formats them using our format-subunit script. Samba 4's "make test" stores the raw subunit output in st/subunit.

I'm attending SNIA SDC at the moment and a couple of people here have asked me about the tools I use to display and analyse test results. They are:


The subunit project contains a bunch of convenience tools for working with subunit. Other than libraries for parsing/generating subunit for several languages it contains tools for manipulating and analysing subunit streams, including:

  • subunit-ls: List all tests in a subunit stream, optionally including their run times (I used this for the test duration summary I sent to the Samba mailing list earlier)
  • tap2subunit: convert a TAP stream to a Subunit stream
  • subunit-stats: Print statistics for a subunit stream (how many successful tests, failed tests, skipped tests, etc)
  • subunit-filter: E.g. remove test result or output from a stream
  • subunit-diff: Compare two subunit streams and see what tests have started failing or are no longer failing
  • subunit2pyunit: Format a subunit stream using Python's standard unit test test result formatter

We're including the subunit tree in the Samba git tree at lib/subunit.


Tribunal is a GTK+ viewer for subunit streams. It allows for easy browsing of test results. Tribunal is still a bit rough around the edges, although it should already be useful.

Example usage:

$ make test
$ tribunal-subunit st/subunit


Test Repository provides a database of test results which fits into developers work flow and keeps track of useful information like what tests are failing, or which failures have the same backtrace.

In particular Test Repository can re-run only the tests that failed in the previous test run:

$ testr init
# Run the full testsuite (1 hour goes by)
$ testr run
# Run those tests from the testsuite that failed in the previous run
# (this would be a lot shorter usually, depending on how many tests were
# failing)
$ testr run --failing

testrepository is also still in its early days, but can potentially be very useful, e.g. when comparing old test runs on the buildfarm.


Samba Summer of Code

As I have done in previous years, I am again participating in the Google Summer of Code as mentor for the Samba project.

Last year I Andrew and I co-mentored three students with mixed results. In the end we had to drop one of our students but the other two did well. I've only taken on one student this year for various reasons.

The amount of time required to mentor a student varies wildly depending on the student and is hard to predict based on their application. Some students seem to require quite a lot of mentoring while others are self-motivated and self-learning. This has not just been my experience, I've heard similar stories from fellow mentors on other projects.

Last summer Ricardo worked on SWAT for Samba 4 and he is still actively working on the project, even after the Summer of Code has finished. I hope to find the time to package SWAT in time for Debian Squeeze. At the moment SWAT just supports managing shares but Ricardo is working on user management.

In 2009 Calin worked on the GTK+ frontends for Samba, in particular changing them to be Python-based rather than C-based. This year his work is going to be continued by Sergio, hopefully with the some user-ready tools as the end result.

Currently Playing: Gazpacho - 117


Proof of concept OpenChange server working

Seeing this makes me very happy. It's taken us a couple of years to get to this point but we've finally made it, mostly thanks to the dedication and persistence of Julien and Brad.


Nostalgia: 10 Years of Samba Hacking

While searching for something else I happened to come across one of my first posts to the ntdom list in November 2000.

My post is a simple question about a Samba crash that I myself no doubt had introduced. I'm sure I could have found a solution to it by using Google - excuse me, AltaVista - but I still received a friendly reply from Jerry explaining me to use GDB. I'm not too embarrassed, at least I used proper punctuation and already wrote somewhat comprehensible English back then.

It's also strange to realize it's already been almost ten years since I started hacking on the Samba project.


Summer of Code 2009

For this years (the fifth?) Summer of Code, I participated once again as a mentor for the Samba and OpenChange projects.

Samba was assigned four slots this year: one was a CIFSFS project mentored by Steve French and the other three were Python projects related to Samba 4, co-mentored by Andrew and me. Our students did very well this year, although we unfortunately had to drop one after the mid-term evaluations due to lack of effort. Nonetheless, we're very happy with the results of the other two projects:

Calin Crisan (France) converted the rest of the applications in SambaGtk to Python, and worked on a GTK+ user manager for Samba and Windows. With his improvements, it is now possible to edit registries, manage users, inspect the endpoint mapper, plan tasks and manage services on a remote Windows machine using a GTK+ application on a Linux workstation.

Ricardo Velhote (Portugal) designed and implemented a new version of SWAT - the Samba Web Administration Tool. Unlike the old SWAT, his implementation is more than just a simple web-based editor for smb.conf. As we were expecting at the start of the Summer of Code, not all of the functionality could be implemented properly in a couple of months, not while getting the design and infrastructure right. With a basic version working, we now hope the remaining subsystems can be contributed with help from the community.

I'm planning to merge Calin's improvements to Samba-Gtk into the mainline in the next month or so. SWAT is a standalone application and will continue to live as a separate project, while being a part of the Samba ecosystem. Congratulations, Calin and Ricardo!