AD Alternative - 389 Directory Server and Samba 4

birger birger at
Thu Jul 15 07:53:09 UTC 2010

On Thu, 2010-07-15 at 09:50 +0530, Rahul Tidke wrote:
> Hello,
>  I have Just read the article "open source alternative for Active Directory"
> (fedora news) at
> -alternative-for-active-directory-10017931/ and it looks really promising. I
> wonder what is the difference between this project (389DS) and samba 4 which
> is also coming up with active directory support and this too will be an
> alternative for MS-AD.
> Can you please focus on this and if someone is really looking for an open
> source alternative for AD then which will be a better choice 389DS or Samba?

389 is not a drop-in replacement for AD. 389 is a very powerful
LDAP-server. AD is LDAP + Kerberos + some M$ ingredients.

Samba 4 can use external LDAP-servers as their directory back-end, and
it supports 389 as far as I have read.

What this means is that you can move all your directory structure into
389, and use 389 as the back-end for everything that speaks LDAP. Then
add Samba as an additional layer for AD-compatibility, still using 389
as the directory.

I have by no means tested this, but it looks very nice on paper at


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