How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into two sections of five chapters each and a section of appendixes. You will most likely get the most out of this book if you implement the example directories as they are covered. With only a few exceptions, all client and server applications presented here are freely available or in common use.

Part I : LDAP Basics

Part I focuses on getting acquainted with LDAP and with the OpenLDAP server. In this part, I answer questions such as: "What is lightweight about LDAP?," "What security mechanisms does LDAP support for preventing unauthorized access to data?," and "How can I build a fault-tolerant directory service?" In addition, the first part of the book helps you gain practical experience with your own directory using the community-developed and freely available OpenLDAP server.

Chapter 1 is a high-level overview of directory services and LDAP in particular.

Chapter 2 digs into the details of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.

Chapter 3 uses the free server distribution from as an example to present practical experience with an LDAP directory.

Chapter 4 provides some hands-on experience adding, modifying, and deleting information from a working directory service.

Chapter 5 wraps up the loose ends of some of the more advanced LDAPv3 and OpenLDAP features.

Part II : Application Integration

Part II is all about implementation. Rather than present an LDAP cookbook, I bring different applications together in such a way that information common to one or more clients can be shared via the directory. You will see how to use LDAP as a practical data store for items such as user and group accounts, host information, general contact information, and application configurations. I also discuss integration with other directory services such as Microsoft's Active Directory, and how to develop your own Perl scripts to manage your directory service.

Chapter 6 explains how an LDAP directory can be used to replace Sun's Network Information Service (NIS) as the means to distribute user and group accounts, host information, automount maps, and other system files.

Chapter 7 presents information related to both mail clients (Eudora, Mozilla, Outlook, and Pine) and servers (Sendmail, Postfix, and Exim).

Chapter 8 explains how to use an LDAP directory to share information among essential network services such as FTP, HTTP, LPD, RADIUS, DNS, and Samba.

Chapter 9 examines what to do when your LDAP directory must coexist with other directory technologies.

Chapter 10 provides the information necessary to roll your own LDAP management tools using Perl and the Net::LDAP module.

Part III: Appendixes

The appendixes provide a quick reference for LDAP standards, common schema items used in this book, and the command-line syntax for OpenLDAP client tools.