While working on a recent project, I found the software I was researching had the capability to work with an LDAP server. My experience with LDAP has been pretty limited, mainly using Microsoft’s Active Directory for work, so I decided to look into open source alternatives. For the uninitiated, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and an LDAP server provide a centralized database where an individual’s user account and password is stored and then shared between many services on a network. Many other entities on the network (groups, servers, printers, etc) can also be referenced in an LDAP catalog, making discovery and access much easier. When a user logs into a company’s network, they are then able to access other network resources (email, other internal applications, file shares, printers), by using the same user name and password. The network administrator only needs to enter the user’s information in one location, and all security settings are defined in that location as well.
There are a number of Open Source implementations of LDAP, including OpenLDAP, OpenDS/DJ, and ApacheDS. OpenLDAP is a well documented project, and has been around for a number of years. OpenDS is owned by Sun MIcroSystems and is no longer maintained and was forked to the OpenDJ project. After researching, I decided for my purposes that the ApacheDS server would best meet my needs, so this article will walk through installing and getting ApacheDS started on a Linux Mint box.