I recently had somebody ask me for advice about setting up a Samba PDC for their small business with 5 Windows Vista PCs. The owner is not very technical, and just wants something that is "set and forget". After doing a trial run with Ubuntu Hardy and hitting one barrier after another, I recommended that they go for Windows Server 2008 instead. Now I'm second-guessing myself, so I want to ask the community:
Would you recommend Samba to a small business owner?
There were a few factors that swayed my decision. I'm interested in whatever workarounds may be available for any of these issues.
- Windows 7 support is not great. Downgrading security settings, DNS errors when joining a domain, and failed machine trusts in 3.4.0. Not what I want to see in production.
- Out of the box, Samba doesn't support ACLs. It seems like a lot of extra configuration for something that you get "free" with Windows and NTFS.
- Windows DNS server automatically resolves names registered in DHCP. But in my BIND9 configuration, everything has to be entered manually and statically. That seems terrible.
- A Samba domain only works at the NT4 functional level. If the client ever wanted to upgrade to take advantage of new technologies, I'm not sure that they would have a reasonable upgrade path.
- Active Directory allows delegation of rights, particularly on user accounts. I don't believe there is anything like that in Samba.
- Group Policy would help keep the environment locked down, as some of the computers will be in a publicly accessible area.
With Samba 4 still way off in the distance, it seems hard to justify a new deployment using technology that is nearly a decade old with basically no upgrade path.