The cover artwork of this book continues the freedom theme of the first edition of “The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide”. We may look back upon the past to question the motives of those who have gone before us. Seldom do we realise that the past owes us no answer, and despite what we may think of the actions of those who have travelled lifes' road before us, we must feel a sense of pride and gratitude for those who, in the past, have protected our liberties.
Developments in information technology continue to move at an alarming pace. Human nature causes us to adopt and embrace new developments that appear to answer the needs of the moment, but that can entrap us at a future date. There are many examples in the short history of information technology. MS-DOS was seen as a tool that liberated users from the tyrany of large computer system operating costs, and that made possible the rapid progres we are beneficiaries of today. Yet today we are inclined to look back with disdain on MS-DOS as an obsolete and constraining technology that belongs are an era that is best forgotten.
The embrace of Windows networking, Windows NT4, and MS Active Directory in more recent times, may seem modern and progressive today, but sooner or later something better will replace them. The current preoccupation with extended identity management solutions and with directories is not unexpected. The day will come that these too will be evaluated, and what may seem refreshing and powerful may be better recogized as the chilly winds of the night. To argue against progress is unthinkable, no matter what may lie ahead.
The development of Samba is moving forwards. The changes since Samba 3.0.0 are amazing, yet many users would like to see more and faster progress. The benefits of recent developments can be realized quickly, but documentation is necessary to unlock the pandoras' box. It is our hope that this book will help the network administrator to rapidly deploy the new features with minimum effort. As you deploy and gain mileage from the new enablement, take the time to think through what may lie ahead. Above all, take stock of the freedom of choice that Samba provides in your world, and enjoy the new potential for seamless interoperability.