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Chapter 1 BoilerPlate & Terminology

  1. 1.1 Objectives
  2. 1.2 How to read this Guide
  3. 1.3 Terminology and Conventions
  4. 1.4 Acknowledgements
  5. 1.5 License and Copyright
  6. 1.6 Disclaimer

1.1 Objectives

This Open Guide is intended to:

  1. Explain the underlying principles of LDAP and the various Models (Naming, Functional, Security and Information).
  2. Provide all the material necessary to understand and deploy an appropriate LDAP solution.
  3. Provide information on the design of LDAP systems - selecting schemas, objectclasses and attributes.
  4. Act as a reference source for LDAP information with links to definitive documentation.
  5. Explain LDAP Schemas - what's available and what to do if its not
  6. Provide a Quickstart guide for OpenLDAP in various configurations.
  7. Provide HOWTO Guides for commonly required configurations.
  8. Explain howto secure an LDAP implementation - the Access Control List (ACL) mechanism
  9. Explain the LDAP Tools and Utilities
  10. Explain the LDAP API, Functional Model and LDAP URLs.
  11. Explain Loading and Saving data - LDIF files.
  12. Provide LDAP Links and Resources including Alternate Open Source LDAP software and Tools
  13. Be available On-line (HTML) and in Printable formats (OpenOffice, DocBook and PDF)

The current version of this document achieves few of the above objectives.

1.2 How to Read this Guide

This is a Guide it is not a book nor is it intended to be. The following summarises who should read what and when:

  1. Section 1: Overview: General background and concept level material. Read if you want an overview of LDAP concepts, the object model, hierarchies, Distinguished Names (DNs), Schemas, object classes and other gobbledegook terminology. If you plan do anything more than follow a HOWTO you need to understand this stuff.

  2. Section 2: OpenLDAP deployment and configuration - some common configurations are used to illustrate LDAP deployment e.g. simple directory, user accounts database (common log-in) and an email example. If you need to get OpenLDAP up quickly without necessarily knowing too much about LDAP use this section. This is mostly a 'paint-by-numbers' section. Anything you actually learn will be accidental.

  3. Section 3: Reference and Brain hurting stuff. LDIF formats, LDAP URLs, LDAP Functional Model (read, modify, query etc) and LDAP C API (PHP and Ruby abstractions). If you are serious you will need this stuff hopefully later rather than sooner.

  4. Section 4: LDAP Operations. HOWTOs, Trouble and error messages, command line tools. Performance issues.

  5. Section 5: LDAP Security. Access Control from coarse to fine grained, passwords and hierarchical control.

  6. Appendix A: If you want explanations, tips or some background notes on OpenLDAP and LDAP use this Appendix.

  7. Appendix B: If you want to find alternative (to OpenLDAP) Open Source LDAP software, tools or links use this Appendix.

  8. Appendix C: If you need the real stuff - specifically all the relevant RFC's and the X.500 spec numbers - use this Appendix.

  9. Appendix D: A glossary of gruesome terminology used in LDAP and X.500.

  10. Appendix E: Common Object Classes and Attributes - largely hyperlinked for easy browsing. Links to the OpenLDAP standard distribution schemas and some we use.

1.3 Terminology and Conventions

There is a lot of terminology involved in LDAP. However, one of the more important reasons we found the LDAP world so confusing at the outset, was that in articles and tutorials about LDAP we found that terminology was neither consistent nor consistently applied. The high-priests of the LDAP world may be comfortable in this environment - we were not. Further, we contend that the reason there are so many repeat question on the news groups, or so many less than optimal implementations, is not because users are inherently stupid, but just plain confused.

We define all terms in a Glossary, including standard LDAP, our own, or our understanding of others commonly used in literature. There may be some new terms we invented to try and clarify points or concepts. They may not be right. If they are not tell us - politely - and by all means point out the error of our ways BUT provide an alternative. We will always respond in the same spirit you wrote to us.


Convention Explanation and Usage
... The dots appear in fragments of schema and other files and indicate that additional lines may or may not be present but have been omitted for brevity. The dots should not be present in the real file.
a.k.a. Also Known As. Used to indicate a term also has alternate forms which may be widely used or have been used in the literature.

1.4 Acknowledgements

This Guide acknowledges and is dedicated to the programmers, documenters, testers and administrators who laboured long and hard in the trenches to turn visionary concepts into a viable reality called Open Source.


The following individuals made significant comments on the guide - many thanks for taking the time.

1.5 License and Copyright

Creative Commons License   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

1.6 Disclaimer

The author and publisher have made every effort in the preparation of this guide to ensure the accuracy of the information. However, the information contained in this guide is offered without warranty, either express or implied. Neither the author nor the publisher will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to be caused either directly or indirectly by this guide.

The logos, trademarks and symbols used in this document are the properties of their respective owners.

Problems, comments, suggestions, corrections (including broken links) or something to add? Please take the time from a busy life to 'mail us' (at top of screen), the webmaster (below) or info-support at zytrax. You will have a warm inner glow for the rest of the day.


tech info
guides home
1 objectives
big picture
2 concepts
3 ldap objects
4 install ldap
5 samples
6 configuration
7 replica & refer
8 ldif
9 protocol
10 ldap api
11 howtos
12 trouble
13 performance
14 ldap tools
15 security
notes & info
ldap resources
rfc's & x.500
ldap objects
change log

Creative Commons License
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