simple LDAP for address book?

Chris Thielen cmthielen at
Mon Jul 13 16:14:26 UTC 2009

I've had luck setting up the OpenLDAP server (sibling of Fedora  
Directory Server) and getting Thunderbird to read names out of it,  
though I never tried writing back to it, or working with a single  
address book versus one global address book.

It's a bit difficult at first because you have to understand that LDAP  
uses a tree structure, so e.g. if you wanted to have per-account  
address books in LDAP, you would need to configure each client's base  
DN appropriately, e.g.  
ou=AddressBook,ou=UserName,ou=People,dc=server,dc=com, or however you  
decide to organize it. That string path is a tree map, with each  
proceeding entry acting as a sibling to the one that comes next. The  
idea is kind of like DNS, e.g. 'com' is the master of 'server', which  
is the master of 'People', which has a 'UserName', who has a subtree  
'AddressBook'. OpenLDAP's /etc/ config file lets you specify different  
usernames and passwords to access different parts of the tree. I'm  
sure if you decide one day to use LDAP for single sign-on, you can use  
those credentials as the address book credentials too.

It is a bit difficult but I wouldn't say it's overkill any more so  
than IMAP is overkill compared to local mail delivery, and it's  
definitely the open standards way to do networked address books, imo.

On Jul 13, 2009, at 7:39 AM, Tom Horsley wrote:

> Every once and I while I take a look at trying to setup an
> LDAP server on my system for keeping address book info (so
> I can access it remotely as I already do with my dovecot IMAP
> server).
> Every time I start looking at it, I find way too much
> information about enterprise class directory servers
> and sql back ends and user authentication, etc.
> Anyone know of a simple howto somewhere on the net for
> setting up LDAP just to use for a personal address book?
> (Preferably some server offered in fedora repos).
> I have this feeling I could write my own custom LDAP
> server in less time than I could understand the documentation
> for the existing ones :-).
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