Doin' The Samba On The HP 3000

UNIX/NT File And Print Services SoftwareConnects You
With The Outside World

Samba, one of the most popular UNIX and Windows NT file and print sharing tools, hasbeen ported to the HP 3000 (and is now included in the recently released MPE/iX 6.0). Assuch, Samba/iX provides an easy mechanism for file and print sharing between HP 3000, NTand other platforms using Microsoft's Server Message Block (SMB) networking protocol.

Samba/iX contains programs and utilities that provide both client and serverfunctionality. The SMB services that allow the HP 3000 to act as a file and print serverare provided by the SMBD application. Meanwhile, another server application, NMBD, allowsprocessing of NetBIOS name service requests, advertises the Samba server on the network,helps clients locate the server and controls "browsing," the ability to viewresources on a Windows Network. Although not required for file and print functionality,NMBD does provide the ability to see HP 3000 disk and/or printer services as part of theWindows 95/NT network neighborhood.

SMBCLIENT allows the HP 3000 to act as a client for SMB servers. This utility allowsusers to send print jobs to printers shared on SMB servers, query remote machines fortheir resources and send WinPopup messages.

Serving Up Samba
To set up a HP 3000 as a Samba server, first create the smb.conf configuration file.This file controls the configuration for both SMBD and NMBD and defines which directorytrees of the MPE file system should be accessible by clients.

There is a section for global parameters and defaults and one section for each serviceor share. In these sections are defined attributes like associated directory path, read orwrite access, which users are allowed to access this share etc. This file is readfrequently by both SMBD and NMBD, allowing configuration changes to become availablewithout the need to restart server programs.

The smb.conf file contains at least 165 possible configuration values. A GUI-basedconfiguration tool called bbSAT, provided by HP 3000 Channel Partner B+BUnternehmensberatung (Bad D├╝rkheim, Germany; ), is available fordownloading from the HP Jazz Web site. In addition, the book"SAMBA Integrating Unix and Windows" by John D. Blair (Specialized SystemsConsultants, January, 1998; available at Amazon or Computer Literacy Books) describes mostof these configuration values in detail. Additional documentation can be found in the manpages and HTML pages included with MPE/iX 6.0.

On the HP 3000, a listener process (started either under INETD or as a separate job)waits for incoming client connection requests and creates child processes (servers) asneeded. The server side validates the client's username and password and grants access tothe requested share if appropriate. A share may also be configured to allow guest access(i.e. without a valid username/password pair specified by the client). This is similar inconcept to anonymous ftp.

The Disk menu includes an item, Network Connections, which brings up a small windowfollowing the File Manager window. Either connect a network drive by explicitly typing ina share name (with the \\server\share syntax) or by using the browsing pane of the samewindow. The browsing feature requires the NMBD server process to be running on the HP3000. If not, or, if the HP 3000 is not on the same PC subnet, an explicit share name mustbe entered.

THE PIZZA PAY OFF

The Samba freeware utility was written by Andrew Trigdell in December 1991, then a PhD student in the Computer Sciences Laboratory at the Australian National University, (Canberra, Australia). Ongoing support is handled by Tridgell and his "Samba Team," still in Australia.

30 Minute Guarantee?

While they don't accept monetary compensation for the product, they do take pizza. As it says on their Web-site , "Andrew doesn't ask for payment, but he does appreciate it when people give him pizza. This calls for a little organization when the pizza donor is twenty thousand kilometers away, but it has been done."

Method 1: Ring up your local branch of an international pizza chain and see if they honor their vouchers internationally. Pizza Huts do, which is how the entire Canberra Linux Users Group got to eat pizza one night, courtesy of someone in the U.S.

Method 2: Ring up a local pizza shop in Canberra and quote a credit card number for a certain amount, and tell them that Andrew will be collecting it (don't forget to tell him.) One kind soul from Germany did this.

Method 3: Purchase a pizza voucher from your local pizza shop that has no international affiliations and send it to Andrew. It's completely useless but he can hang it on the wall next to the one he already has from Germany.

Method 4: Air-freight him a pizza with your favorite regional flavors. It will probably get stuck in customs or torn apart by hungry sniffer dogs but it will have been a noble gesture.

New Samba Versions

Lars Appel, a software engineer at HP's German Response Center, performed the port to MPE/iX in December, 1996. That version was beta tested by Easy Does It Technology's (Richland, Wash.) owner and long-time HP 3000 consultant Michael Gueterman.

Gueterman explains that the version of Samba/iX bundled with MPE/iX 6.0 is still Appel's original port, specified as version 1.9.16P9 -- almost two years old. He, along with Joe Geiser, a consultant with CSI Business Solutions (Langhorne, Pa.), is in the process of "moving the MPE/iX version up to the existing standard" of Tridgell's team (version 1.9.18P10).

Information on this newer (still freeware) release of Samba/iX is available at their Web site.

--Ken Deats
Associate Editor


Accessibility To PC Apps
Once connected to the server shares, the network drives are accessible to regular PCapplications. All files and directories on such a network drive actually reside on the HP3000 in the MPE file system (typically using the HFS name space).

With printer sharing, the client creates a file on the server directory associated withthe printer and lets the server process trigger a configurable command to push the file tothe MPE spooler or other options.

Network printers, PC serial printers and both UNIX and PC print servers are accessibleto HP 3000 users as long as they run the SMB protocol. Using the SMBCLIENT utility MPEspool files may be piped to other printers in the network.

--Alvina Nishimoto, HP CSY R&D Internet Program Manager