Is LDAP the answer?

Michael Torrie torriem at
Mon Nov 28 15:05:35 MST 2005

On Mon, 2005-11-28 at 11:10 -0700, Kimball Larsen wrote:
> Perhaps I'm missing something massive out there (LDAP, perhaps?) but  
> here goes:
> Our organization currently uses Exchange Server for the sole purpose  
> of sharing contacts in Outlook/Entourage on the desktop.
> Is there a free/os linux tool that can do the same thing Exchange  
> Server is doing for us now?  Ie, just supply a way to let Outlook/ 
> Entourage see a shared list of contacts that everyone can update?

LDAP certainly can give you a shared list of contacts that everyone can
see and search from their e-mail clients (and LDAP-backed address book).
In fact right now our department uses our department-wide LDAP server
for this purpose, really a fringe benefit of using LDAP for
authentication and authorization purposes (all users are in LDAP).

The last part of your question is the kicker, though.  I simply don't
know about allowing end users to do the updates back into LDAP.  In
theory (and this depends on the mechanisms that the clients use to do
updates), you could have each user set up to authenticate to the LDAP
server as them selves (this is a standard option in outlook,
thunderbird, etc.  usually something about binddn), and then set up
rules in the ACLs in LDAP to allow users to update certain fields in
their own records.  

LDAP is a broad, nebulous thing.  So in large part it is up to you to
consider what kind of structure you want your data to have.  That is the
hard part.


> Thanks!
> -- Kimball
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Michael Torrie <torriem at>

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