[Freedombox-discuss] LDAP

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Sun Nov 3 12:38:08 UTC 2013

Quoting Petter Reinholdtsen (2013-11-03 09:49:24)
> [Lorenzo]
>> For these reasons I think it's not necessary to put LDAP in the 
>> freedombox.  Maybe I'm overlooking something (maybe some critical 
>> daemon is incompatible with SASL?). I hope what I wrote can be of 
>> help in the design, I'm curious to hear what are the other opinions 
>> on this topic.
> The reason I believe it is a good idea to have LDAP on the freedombox,
> is that it reduces the number of user databases on the system.  Some web
> service systems, like owncloud and ejabberd, have their own user
> databases while also supporting LDAP as their user database backend.
> Several, or perhaps most, do not use /etc/passwd as their user database.
> So we can either maintain several user databases specific to a lot of
> the services we want to set up in the Freedombox, or we can maintain one
> in LDAP and hook the services up to LDAP to use one common user database
> instead.  I prefer the latter.

Ok.  Makes good sense to mandate use of shared auth mechanism.  Not 
convinced LDAP is the ideal for that, though.

Beware that simply "supports LDAP" may not tell the full story: Some 
applications integrate with LDAP only by optional lookups of LDAP 
records, while maintaining its user data in a custom database anyway 
(i.e. not writing back to LDAP).

If LDAP is used only for readonly user/group data, not for sharing other 
user data and not updated from the applications, then it might be safer 
to write a script exporting POSIX info to those applications needing a 
custom format (e.g. as a cron job or added as hooks to e.g. change of 

Ejabberd, specifically, _does_ support POSIX getent.  That's the very 
reason I suggested to use that daemon: I have experience using it in 
production, because it fits my requirements of using that simple shared 
auth mechanism.

Hint for someone wanting to help: Above has to potentially low hanging 

  * collect concrete data on which applications support which shared 
    mechanisms for user/group management, and whether the support is
    readonly or read/write.
  * document how to make prosody use getent.

> In addition, we get a central and structured place to store 
> configuration for at least some of the services, but that is of less 
> importance to me.

It is of *big* importance to me that we do *not* move storage from /etc 
to a database: It may seem tempting to use that approach when needing a 
setup different from what the corresponding package maintainer offers, 
but since we have *no* administrator on our systems, our setup *must* be 
supported by package maintainers.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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