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Hi - I don't do IT configuration work for a living (software developer, but I don't deal with say configuring servers), but I had a couple of questions that I was hoping someone could clarify.
I've been reading up on LDAP and various implementations of LDAP. I know that Active Directory is Microsoft's implementation of an LDAP compliant server. Pretty much every corporate environment I've been in uses MS Outlook with an Exchange server that authenticates against AD.
Is it possible (or even preferable) to use another implementation of an LDAP server for MS Outlook to authenticate against? If so, would I still need MS Exchange? Or does MS exchange specifically work with AD?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I've wondered the same thing myself, and I'm not really sure why I find it so difficult to understand. If all you want is the ability to look up addresses in an LDAP directory, a variety of email clients can do that, including Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird, and the directory can be served with any flavor of LDAP. Actually setting up and maintaining an LDAP directory is much more complicated and Thunderbird can't even write to LDAP directories.
I don't know if Outlook can use LDAP (whether it is Active Directory or a third party server) for anything other than looking up addresses. In theory, if your flavor of Windows has AD built in (and XP Home doesn't), once you log on to your user account, you never have to log in again and you can access Outlook calendars and mailboxes all over the network, even if file sharing isn't set up. Windows also supplies your login username and password to other applications (that's how I access Samba shares on an Linux fileserver with my Windows client) without using an LDAP server, but that doesn't allow you to add or delete users, or push data to an LDAP database. Hopefully someone more experienced with connecting Outlook clients will come to our rescue.
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