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Mastering OpenLDAP: Configuring, Securing and Integrating Directory Services

This book is the ideal introduction to using OpenLDAP for Application Developers and will also benefit System Administrators running OpenLDAP. It prepares the reader to build a directory using OpenLDAP, and then employ this directory in the context of the network, taking a practical approach that emphasizes how to get things done. On occasion, it delves into theoretical aspects of LDAP, but only where understanding the theory helps to answer practical questions. The reader requires no knowledge of OpenLDAP, but even readers already familiar with the technology will find new things and techniques.

This book is organized into three major sections: the first section covers the basics of LDAP directory services and the OpenLDAP server; the second focuses on building directory services with OpenLDAP; in the third section of the book, we look at how OpenLDAP is integrated with other applications and services on the network. This book not only demystifies OpenLDAP, but gives System Administrators and Application Developers a solid understanding of how to make use of OpenLDAP's directory services.

The OpenLDAP directory server is a mature product that has been around (in one form or another) since 1995. It is an open-source server that provides network clients with directory services. All major Linux distributions include the OpenLDAP server, and many major applications, both open-source and proprietary, are directory aware and can make use of the services provided by OpenLDAP.

The OpenLDAP directory server can be used to store organizational information in a centralized location, and make this information available to authorized applications. Client applications connect to OpenLDAP using the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and can then search the directory and (if they have appropriate access) modify and manipulate records.

LDAP servers are most frequently used to provide network-based authentication services for users; but there are many other uses for an LDAP server, including using the directory as an address book, a DNS database, an organizational tool, or even as a network object store for applications.

What you will learn from this book?

  • Installing binary OpenLDAP packages and building from source
  • Configuring and verifying the LDAP server
  • Building an initial directory tree in an LDIF file
  • Loading, modifying, and searching directory records
  • Setting passwords and authenticating against the directory
  • Configuring Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • Configuring multiple database back ends
  • Securing network-based directory connections with SSL and TLS
  • Advanced configurations and performance tuning settings
  • Creating and implementing LDAP schemas
  • Creating custom schemas and sophisticated ACLs
  • Using OpenLDAP as a proxy for other LDAP servers
  • Adding caching with the Proxy Cache overlay
  • Using the transparency overlay to create a hybrid cache
  • Installing and configuring a web-base LDAP administration suite
  • Keeping multiple directory servers synchronized with SyncRepl
  • Using OpenLDAP for Apache authentication


This book has been written from the application developer's perspective, tackling the topics that will be most important to helping the application developer understand OpenLDAP, and get it set up as securely and quickly as possible. It shows how OpenLDAP interoperates with other UNIX/Linux services (DNS, NIS, Samba, etc.).

Who this book is written for?

The target audience will require basic Linux system administration knowledge, but no prior knowledge of LDAP or OpenLDAP is assumed. If you are web savvy and are interested in using OpenLDAP for web applications and services like client interaction then this is the book for you.

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