Canonical Help WantedCanonical is developing a Directory Services strategy that could help Ubuntu Server Edition compete (and integrate) more effectively with Microsoft, Windows Server and Active Directory. In addition to a relationship with Likewise Software, Canonical is seeking external experts to help accelerate some Directory Services efforts.

First, some background: WorksWithU reached out to Canonical after multiple readers expressed the need for the company to formulate an Ubuntu Server Edition directory services strategy.

Canonical's Response

Canonical replied to my inquiry last night. According to Nick Barcet, Canonical's Ubuntu Server product manager:
"OpenLDAP is our LDAP implementation of choice in Ubuntu Server Edition. Around it we are putting together the base configuration and tools that we need to offer a better "out of the box" experience.  In 8.10 we implemented a method for schema update to be automatically replicated to multiple OpenLDAP instances in the network.  9.04 should implement the basis of certificate management as well as a saner default DIT."
Ubuntu 9.04, code-named Jaunty Jackalope, is scheduled to debut April 23. Here's a first look at the operating system.

Help Wanted

Still, Barcet concedes Canonical is juggling multiple priorities at the moment -- which means a full-blown directory service isn't a top priority at the company. He wrote:
"So, while this is not our top priority, it is something we are very conscious about and progress is only limited by the resources we have. If some of your readers would have some spare time to help us in that direction, they would be more than welcome."
Barcet offered the following blueprints for readers to check out:

Key Partner: Likewise

In addition to Canonical's own directory service efforts, Barcet pointed to Likewise Software as a key partner that makes Ubuntu easlier to integrate with Active Directory.

I must concede: It's been more than a decade since I covered directory services (Active Directory, Novell Directory Services) for InformationWeek, so my knowledge on the topic is rusty at best.

But I have to wonder: Why didn't Novell make eDirectory (the successor to NDS) a free or low-cost de facto standard in the Linux market -- so that everyone (Novell, Red Hat and Canonical) could compete more effectively against Windows Server?

I've sent a note to Novell seeking their perspective.

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