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Mastering OpenLDAP: Configuring, Securing and Integrating Directory Services Paperback – August 31, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matt Butcher is the principal consultant for Aleph-Null, Inc. (http://aleph-null.tv), where he specializes in content management systems, Linux system integration, and Open Source technologies. He has been an active participant in Open Source technologies for over a decade. Along with Learning Drupal 6, Matt has also written Mastering OpenLDAP, Managing and Customizing OpenCms 6, and Building Websites with OpenCms, all of which are published by Packt. When not pushing bits, Matt likes to explore Colorado with his wife and three daughters.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing; 1st Ed. edition (August 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847191029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847191021
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinarily well written book. In the preface the author promises to prepare system administrators or software developers for building a directory using OpenLDAP using a practical approach, discussing theory where that helps answer practical questions.

Along with some of the best illustrations of the theory and practice of LDAP directory management, this book contains a wealth of detailed information on the servers, clients and utilities that make up the OpenLDAP suite of software. The examples provided of different configurations are not only detailed, they also methodically build upon each other in a way that really illuminates various concepts far better than I think has been done before.

The appendices in this volume are also worthy of mention: "Building OpenLDAP from Source", "LDAP URLs", and "Useful LDAP Commands" -- the last deftly handling one of my favorite pastimes, "Rebuilding a Database (BDB, HDB)".

This book would be an excellent textbook for use by students learning Internet technologies. It would also make a terrific technical manual for system administrators or developers involved in deploying or maintaining systems and applications that use directory services. Finally, it's the one essential book that all directory administrators should have on their own personal bookshelf.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book if you are interested in learning the theory behind OpenLDAP. However if you are looking for a more practical guide I would suggest looking elsewhere. Aside from the differences in Linux distributions, I have found several frustrating omissions and errors that have cost me hours of research online. For example, chapter three beautifully details how to create an LDIF file, however then fails to explain where to place that file on the file system or how to load the contents of that file into the database. These questions are answered, but a dozen pages later as part of a discussion on a different topic. This made it impossible to find that info when I needed it. In Chapter four, options that should go in ldap.conf are listed as going into slapd.conf. Also the file names cacert.pem and newcert.pem are used interchangeably with no explanation, which can be confusing. Chapter four also fails to mention the openssl-perl module must be installed for the authors directions to even work in the first place. I have not gotten much farther into the text then chapter four and perhaps I'm too much of a Linux novice, but I have been disappointed by this book.
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To be practical such as being able to actually run the server and utilities in a real environment, more details (or corrections) would be required.

1. slapd.conf is depreciated since OpenLDAP 2.3 (target version of this book), but the current LDIF format configuration is not described.
2. Dynamic module load configurations are specified in slapd.conf but they are only effective when --enable-modules has been specified to the configure script.
3. Base DN access configuration is missing in the slapd.conf in the book. It can (or will) cause an error to run ldapsearch examples described in the book.
4. Subschema and how to view it is described, but the access configuration to dn="cn=shbschema" looks not described.
etc etc.

Aside from these detail technicalities, very good as an introduction to LDAP.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The prose is tight and to the point, but the material is already obsolete. The author spends significant time on configuring and explaining slapd.conf when the openLDAP site itself says that support for this plain text configuration file will be dropped in favor of the cn=config.ldif and other ldif-based files that require a whole new configuration methodology.

ldapsearch syntax is still valuable. I'll edit this review once I finish the book, but it is currently unhelpful in getting an openLDAP server configured and running.
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First off the book has plenty of information for setting up OpenLDAP and using it, but that's really where is ends. The chapters really don't follow in an instructional order. What I mean is they will mention a little bit of something and then discuss it in 4 or 5 chapters later. I don't understand why it wasn't just addressed when it was brought up. It would be one thing if it was something that should come later, but many of the occurrences of this problem it should have been explained right when it is mentioned (hopefully this makes sense).

With that being said it has helped a little. Most of the setup for our server has come from online tutorials, then I address this book when I can't find an answer to one of my questions with a quick google search.

Final Note: Be aware this book does not apply to the newest version of openldap, so if you have RHEL6 or the latest version of Centos and just do a yum install, this book will prove quite useless. You could always build from an older source which is what we have done.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very well written technical book and it is well organized. The author does a great job of emphasizing important concepts and explains details that others authors sometimes leave out like the differences between Apache 2.0 and 2.2 configuration options. I also found the tips very helpful.

I am a careful reader and really appreciated the attention to details. I found that I was able to follow the concepts at every step but, in some cases, I had to go over the material carefully. If you prefer to skim books your mileage may vary

The content was especially relevant to me because I am using OpenLDAP on Ubuntu with phpLDAPadmin. However, even if you are not using Ubuntu or Debian, you will still find this book invaluable. It covers all of the important concepts and describes the flows needed to put them to work. Most folks can figure out that they need to replace 'apt-get install ...' with 'yum install' so this will not be a handicap if you are using other distributions like Fedora, CentOS, Redhat or SUSE.

I only found two mistakes. Both were minor PHP syntax errors. The first was on page 408 where the statement "'Last Name' = 'Butcher'" in the first example should have been "'Last Name' => 'Butcher'" and the second was on page 410 in the example second up from the bottom where there is an extra parenthesis, the statement "(,array('dc=example.com...'" should be ",array('dc=example.com...'"

Some of the highlights for me were how to synchronize multiple directories (Chapter 7) and how to configure phpLDAPadmin (Chapter 8).

If you are a newbie be prepared for chapters 3 and 4. They are very long but the material is well organized and important.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone involved in LDAP administration on a linux system.

I am rating this book five stars because this book delivers exactly what is promised.
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