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LDAP System Administration by Gerald Carter

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Chapter 9. LDAP Interoperability

What is a chapter on interoperability doing in a book on LDAP? After all, I've presented LDAP throughout this book as a standard protocol, and standards are supposed to minimize, if not eliminate, interoperability problems. One of the major selling points of LDAP is its potential for consolidating vendor-specific or application-specific directories. We've seen many examples of this: using LDAP as a replacement for NIS, as a backend data store for DNS, and as a replacement for many ad hoc databases used in email management.

Still, while LDAP minimizes interoperability problems, "minimize" is definitely the key word. The core features of LDAP are standardized, but things such as schemas are not. There are many common object classes and attributes that can be extended by a vendor. Not only can schemas be extended, the protocol can be extended as well by creating additional operations using extensions and controls, and not all vendors support the same ones.

For each service that can be consolidated into an LDAP directory, there must be a corresponding client-side application that can access the old information in the new directory. That's not always an easy order to fill; we've already seen some clever workarounds to help older applications access an LDAP directory, such as using the pam_ldap library presented in Chapter 6 to enable non-LDAP-aware applications to authenticate users in the directory. Furthermore, sooner or later you will encounter an LDAP-enabled ...

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