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Old 07-01-2007, 12:45 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2005
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Centralized user management

I am not a network configuration expert, so this question of mine will probably look stupid to more than one forumer...

I think I've understood how to create a Linux LAN with N boxes and file/folder sharing: in all the boxes I define the same N users (useradd...) and appropriate groups, enable the nfs daemon, export the desidered folders and mount them (not in the same computer...) in fstab. As an alternative I could use the Samba service (by the way, which of the two is better?). Am I wrong?

Anyway, I would like to know how I can obtain an equivalent setup without having to define all LAN users on all machines. In other words, I would like to obtain a situation similar to the one I've seen in a Windows Domain Environment, where a central server is managing all LAN users' login and passwords. Particularly, I'd like to understand the way in which permissions can be managed when the LAN users are NOT defined with useradd in every single computer.

Thanks a lot to anyone who will have the patience to explain.
Old 07-01-2007, 01:48 AM   #2
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Hi -

Windows Active Directory uses LDAP (we won't talk about obsolete stuff like LanManager or NetBIOS ;-)).

LDAP was invented on non-Windows platforms, is fully supported Linux, and is pretty much "out of the box" available on most distros:

You can learn more about LDAP here:

There are many other alternatives, too. but LDAP is probably your best bet...

'Hope that helps .. PSM
Old 07-01-2007, 10:19 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot.
Old 07-01-2007, 11:38 AM   #4
Registered: May 2005
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get the o'reilly ldap book

I used the O'Reilly LDAP book to build my first test LDAP account management environment. It walks through the entire process, step by step, letting you build a working example of what you need.

I wrote a perl program to add/modify/delete entries in our login account/group database, and another to manage the sendmail aliases database, all of which is stored on a pair of replicated OpenLDAP servers.

The only thing I did differently than the LDAP book is to use SSL/TLS certificate authentication/encryption, so passwords aren't flying across the net in plain text and spoofing our LDAP servers is much harder.

The only problem I've run into with using LDAP accounts, is that the stable CVS network daemon doesn't support LDAP accounts (yet), and there is a bug in SUDO with LDAP accounts, which I reported and is apparently fixed in the next release.

Oh, and the steep learning curve. Learning LDAP from scratch can be brutal.
Old 07-01-2007, 01:36 PM   #5
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nothing to do with networking. moved to Linux - General.


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