Is LDAP the answer?

Kimball Larsen kimball at
Mon Nov 28 19:56:57 MST 2005

On Nov 28, 2005, at 3:05 PM, Michael Torrie wrote:

> 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.

I appreciate all the feedback and dialogue.  As I am learning, no 2  
LDAP installs are the same (or, indeed simililar).  We are not  
looking for users to be able to alter anything with respect to user  
data.  This is to be nothing more than an address/telephone book.  I  
just need a good simple central spot to keep a list of a gazillion  
contacts that are used and updated by several people in the company.

I have finished my install of the OpenLDAP server, but ran out of  
time (you know, the job gets in the way of playing sometimes) today  
to get it configured and try to import any addresses.  Hopefully I'll  
be able to do that tomorrow.


-- Kimball 

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