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An open-source directory management tool

Jun 09, 20043 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* The open-source Directory administrator

For the developer – whether an in-house member of staff, a part-time coder, an independent one-man shop, or someone involved with writing applications and services for major vendors – the problem of finding a directory to hold identity information isn’t difficult. In fact, it isn’t a problem. All the major directory vendors have programs to supply free copies of their directories to developers. But even if you don’t qualify for one of those programs you can still download, for free, the OpenLDAP directory. However there is a problem with some of these programs and services: How do you administer the directory outside of your own application?

Sure, the vendors ship full-blown administrative tools with their developer-edition directories but most appear to require you take a semester course just to be able to use them.  The about-to-be released “Novell’s Guide to Troubleshooting eDirectory” (ISBN: 0789731460) by my good friends Jim Henderson and Peter Kuo, runs to 608 pages. That’s a lot when all you want is to be able to seed your test directory with users, clear it out when needed, and read and write some information necessary to your application. What you need “…is not a comprehensive and technical tool (e.g., Novell ConsoleOne)” according to the blurb for Directory administrator.

Directory administrator is an open-source project, an administrative tool for an LDAP enabled directory service such as OpenLDAP, eDirectory, Sun Java System Directory Server and others. As the blurb goes on to say, “Not even understanding how an LDAP directory works is needed. Fire it up, create, delete and change your users and groups, and that’s it.” In no time at all, “you can deploy a solution equivalent to Microsoft’s Active Directory, with no proprietary traps, zero licensing fees and using secure, freely distributed software.” It certainly sounds easy enough, but does it do what’s needed to be done?

With Directory administrator you can:

* Add, remove and modify users and groups with a simple follow-the-wizard process.

* Add and remove members from a group.

* Change user passwords.

* Set and change password expiration policies, set an expiry date on the user account, or disable the account.

* Set a logon shell (for Unix users) and home directory.

* Manage corporate information (department, e-mail address, phone numbers, city, state, employee code).

Not only is that pretty much all a developer of a directory-enabled service or application might need, it goes a long way towards providing everything an administrator of a directory might want. All open-source, all for no cost. Browse to for more details, to download the package and to sign on as a contributor to the next version.