System Administration Guide: Printing

Description of the SMB Protocol

The SMB protocol is an application-level network protocol that is primarily used for sharing printers, access to files, serial ports, and miscellaneous communications between nodes on the network. Mainly used by Windows systems, SMB is an authenticated inter-process communication mechanism. In the Oracle Solaris OS, the SMB protocol is used primarily for sharing printers. All of these processes take place over the network. SMB can run over multiple protocols.

SMB works through a peer-to-peer approach. A client makes a specific requests to a server, and the server responds accordingly. SMB servers make their file systems and other resources available to clients on the network. In the Oracle Solaris OS, SMB includes Samba server-side support that is managed by the Service Management Facility (SMF) and Samba smbclient client-side support. To access a Windows hosted printer, setup of a local print queue is required. This requirement is due to differences in UNIX and Windows printing models.

What Is Samba?

Samba is an open-source SMB server freeware application that uses the SMB protocol. Samba provides Windows clients access to UNIX servers and UNIX clients access to Windows servers. The access that is provided is for both files and other services, including printer sharing. Samba's design, as well as constraint, is to operate on top of a variety of existing UNIX systems. Samba runs as a set of daemons and services, without any need for modification of existing kernels. More information about Samba can be found at