OpenLDAP – some installation tips

These are some tips for installing OpenLDAP – you can get away without these but it’s useful stuff to know. This relates to Ubuntu 14.04.

Database configuration

It’s a good idea to configure your database otherwise it, especially the log files, can grow significantly over time if you’re running a lot of operations.

dn: olcDatabase={1}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
add: olcDbConfig
olcDbConfig: set_cachesize 0 2097152 0
olcDbConfig: set_lk_max_objects 1500
olcDbConfig: set_lk_max_locks 1500
olcDbConfig: set_lk_max_lockers 1500
olcDbConfig: set_lg_bsize 2097512
olcDbConfig: set_flags DB_LOG_AUTOREMOVE
add: olcDbCheckpoint
olcDbCheckpoint: 1024 10

In particular note how the checkpoint is set – without it the logs won’t be removed. There are quite a few references on the internet to setting it as part of the olcDbConfig but that doesn’t work.

ldapmodify -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f dbconfig.ldif

These values will be stored in /var/lib/ldap/DB_CONFIG, and also updated if changed. This should avoid the need to use any of the Berkeley DB utilities.

It’s also possible to change the location of the database and log files but don’t forget that you’ll need to update the apparmor configuration as well.

Java connection problems

If you are having problems connecting over ldaps using java (it’s always work checking with ldapsearch on the command line) then it might be a certificates problem – see

You need to copy local_policy.jar and US_export_policy.jar from the download into jre/lib/security e.g.

cp *.jar /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-oracle/jre/lib/security/

You’ll need to do this again after an update to the jre.


If you are doing a lot of command line ldap operations it can be helpful to use the -y option with a stored password file


Don’t forget to edit the value of SLAPD_SERVICES in /etc/default/slapd to contain the full hostname if you are connecting from elsewhere. IP address is recommended if you want to avoid problems with domain name lookups.


The memberOf overlay doesn’t seem that reliable in a clustered configuration so it may be necessary to remove and readd from groups in order to have it working.

Mapping groupOfNames to posixGroup

See this serverfault article using this schema
You need to replace the nis schema, so first of all find out the dn of the existing nis schema

slapcat -n 0 | grep 'nis,cn=schema,cn=config'

This will give you something like dn: cn={2}nis,cn=schema,cn=config
Now you need to modify the rfc2307bis.ldif so that you can use ldapmodify. This is a multi-stage process.
First change the schema

dn: cn={2}nis,cn=schema,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcAttributeTypes
replace: olcObjectClasses

It’s still got the original name at this point so let’s change that as well

dn: cn={2}nis,cn=schema,cn=config
changetype: modrdn
newrdn: cn={2}rfc2307bis
deleteoldrdn: 1

Quick check using slapcat but I get an error!

/etc/ldap/slapd.d: line 1: substr index of attribute "memberUid" disallowed
573d83c3 config error processing olcDatabase={1}hdb,cn=config: substr index of attribute "memberUid" disallowed
slapcat: bad configuration file!

so another ldapmodify to fix this – I’ll just remove it for now but it would be better to index member instead.

dn: olcDatabase={1}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
delete: olcDbIndex
olcDbIndex: memberUid eq,pres,sub

groupOfNames and posixGroup objectClasses can now co-exist.

On a client machine you will need to add the following to /etc/ldap.conf

nss_schema rfc2307bis
nss_map_attribute uniqueMember member

This isn’t entirely intuitive! You might expect nss_map_attribute memberUid member and whereas that sort of works it doesn’t resolve the dn to the uid of the user and is therefore effectively useless.

Dynamic groups

Make sure you check the N.B.!
I tried this for mapping groupOfNames to posixGroup but it doesn’t work for that use case, however it’s potentially useful so I’m still documenting it.
You need to load the dynlist overlay (with ldapadd)

dn: cn=module{0},cn=config
changetype: modify
add: olcModuleLoad
olcModuleLoad: dynlist

then configure then attr set so that the uid maps to memberUid

dn: olcOverlay=dynlist,olcDatabase={1}hdb,cn=config
objectClass: olcOverlayConfig
objectClass: olcDynamicList
olcOverlay: dynlist
olcDlAttrSet: posixGroup labeledURI memberUid:uid

You then need to add the objectClass labeledURIObject to your posixGroup entry and define the labeledURI e.g.


Now if you search in ldap for your group it will list the memberUid that you expect.
You can run getent group mygroup and it will report the members of that group correctly.
N.B.For practical purposes this doesn’t actually work see this answer on StackOverflow
This post describing using the rfc2307bis schema for posix groups looks interesting as well.

Running in debug


/usr/sbin/slapd -h ldapi:/// -d 16383 -u openldap -g openldap

client set up

Make sure the box can access the LDAP servers

Add the server to inbound security group rules e.g. 636 <ipaddress>/32
apt-get install ldap-utils

Optionally test with

ldapsearch -H ldaps:// -D “cn=system,ou=users,ou=system,dc=mydomain,dc=com” -W ‘(objectClass=*)’ -b dc=mydomain,dc=com

Set up a person in LDAP by adding objectClasses posixAccount and ldapPublicKey

apt-get install ldap-auth-client

See /etc/default/slapd on the ldap server

ldaps:// ldaps://

Make local root Database admin – No
LDAP database require login – Yes
use password

Settings are in /etc/ldap.conf

If you want home directories to be created then add the following to /etc/pam.d/common-session

session required

You can checkout autofs-ldap or pam_mount if you’d prefer to mount the directory.(might require ref2307bis)

Now run the following commands

auth-client-config -t nss -p lac_ldap

Now test
#su – myldapaccount

Check /var/log/auth.log if problems

If you want to use LDAP groupOfNames as posixGroups see above.

For ssh keys in LDAP – add the sshPublicKey to the ldap record. Multiple keys can be stored. e.g. using openssh-lpk_openldap

Make sure ssh server is correctly configured

dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server

Add the following to /etc/ssh/sshd_config – both are needed, then create the file using the contents below

Restart the ssh service after doing both steps and check that it has restarted (pid given in the start message)

AuthorizedKeysCommand /etc/ssh/
AuthorizedKeysCommandUser nobody

Contents of /etc/ssh/
You can restrict access by modifying the ldapsearch command
Access can also be restricted by using the host field in the ldap user record but that’s more complicated

script must only be writeable by root


uri=`grep uri /etc/ldap.conf| egrep -v ^# | awk ‘{print $2}’`
binddn=`grep binddn /etc/ldap.conf| egrep -v ^# | awk ‘{print $2}’`
bindpw=`grep bindpw /etc/ldap.conf| egrep -v ^# | awk ‘{print $2}’`
base=`grep base /etc/ldap.conf| egrep -v ^# | awk ‘{print $2}’`


for u in `grep uri /etc/ldap.conf| egrep -v ^# | awk ‘{for (i=2; i<=NF; i++) print $i}’` do ldapsearch -H ${u} \ -w “${bindpw}” -D “${binddn}” \ -b “${base}” \ ‘(&(objectClass=posixAccount)(uid='”$1″‘))’ \ ‘sshPublicKey’ > $TMPFILE
grep sshPublicKey:: $TMPFILE > /dev/null
if [ $? -eq 0 ]
sed -n ‘/^ /{H;d};/sshPublicKey::/x;$g;s/\n *//g;s/sshPublicKey:: //gp’ $TMPFILE | base64 -d
sed -n ‘/^ /{H;d};/sshPublicKey:/x;$g;s/\n *//g;s/sshPublicKey: //gp’ $TMPFILE
if [ $RESULT -eq 0 ]

Command reference

ldapsearch -H ldapi:/// -x -y /root/.ldappw -D 'cn=admin,dc=mydomain,dc=com' -b 'dc=mydomain,dc=com' "(cn=usersAdmin)"

Note that the syntax of the LDIF files for the next two commands is somewhat different

Adding entries
ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -x -y ~/.ldappw -D 'cn=admin,dc=mydomain,dc=com' -f myfile.ldif

Making changes
ldapmodify -Y EXTERNAL -H ldapi:/// -f myfile.ldif

Recursively removing a sub-tree
ldapdelete -H ldapi:/// -x -y ~/.ldappw -D "cn=admin,dc=mydomain,dc=com" -r "ou=tobedeleted,dc=mydomain,dc=com"

Checking databases used
ldapsearch -H ldapi:// -Y EXTERNAL -b "cn=config" -LLL -Q "olcDatabase=*" dn

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