[unisog] Novell and the Mac

Eric Brewer ebrewer at email.smith.edu
Sat Oct 22 13:30:26 GMT 2005

We've had pretty good luck authenticating the Macs to the Novell LDAP for about 3 years now.  We didn't follow the Mac OSX Labs approach of extending the schema, for good or ill, but instead are using the "Unix Profile" attributes in NDS.  Because our network is (extremely) slow in some buildings, we don't map Home to user's network home by default.  Instead, we let the Mac create a local home directory on the machine for the user.  So, the Home Directory attribute in NDS reads /Users/tjones, for instance.  On your prototype Mac, you'll need to configure the LDAP lookup to find the attributes, of course, but it's pretty straight forward.

Would I extend the schema next time?  Yeah, probably.  Because the Mac uses /Users/tjones while Linux uses /home/tjones, we had to change the default config for one or the other.  

There are good and bad things about having a local home.  Each user of a particular lab/classroom Mac gets their own workspace, but it doesn't follow them around.  We expected the hard disks to fill up with "stuff" quickly, but it hasn't proven to be the case.  Students realize that they have to store anything important in their network space. We could wipe out the accumulation on logout or with a periodic cron job, but it hasn't been necessary.

Eric Brewer
Computing & Tech Serv. Mgr.
Clark Science Center
Smith College

We are working on a project to use our existing Novell infrastructure to 
authenticate users in our campus labs. One of the problems we have not found 
a solution to so far is how to handle the Mac. Is anyone reading this list in 
a similar environment and, if so, do you have a suggestion?


Johannes "John" Grosen, M.S.
Director, Infrastructure Services
Information Technology Services
North Dakota State University           http://www.ndsu.edu/its/ 
Fargo, ND 58105-5164                    (701) 231-1042

-- Eric

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