Samba4: What does 'The Directory' mean?

Michael Wood esiotrot at
Sun Apr 15 08:06:18 MDT 2012


On 15 April 2012 15:52, steve <steve at> wrote:
> On 15/04/12 03:21, Andrew Bartlett wrote:
>> On Sat, 2012-04-14 at 20:28 +0200, steve wrote:
>>> Hi everyone
>>> I'm the only English speaker on our team of testers over here.
>> All objects as seen over ldap have a DN, and are
>> in 'the directory'.
>> When using in an unqualified sense, it does not generally refer to
>> folders on the filesystem.
>> I hope this clarifies things.
>> Andrew Bartlett
> Hi Andrew, hi everyone.
> Here is my dn:
> ldbsearch --url=/usr/local/samba/private/sam.ldb cn=steve2
> # record 1
> dn: CN=steve2,CN=Users,DC=hh3,DC=site
> ldbsearch --url=/usr/local/samba/private/sam.ldb cn=teachers
> # record 1
> dn: CN=teachers,CN=Users,DC=hh3,DC=site
> steve2 uses Linux and windows computers.
> He has attributes copied from openLDAP and rarely uses windows.
> Could you do me a yes/no on:
> ¿Is steve2 part of the directory?
> ¿Is the teachers group part of the directory?

Yes, both of those can be accessed from Samba via LDAP and they both
have DNs, so as Andrew said, they are both "in the directory".

In computing terms in English a "directory" (also known as a folder)
is somewhere in your filesystem for storing files (and perhaps other
directories).  It can also be a service that makes information
available (like a physical telephone directory or a dictionary with
definitions for words etc.)  The "Directory" in "Active Directory" or
Samba 4 is referring to the second type of Directory.  It's a service
where information is arranged in a logical and usually hierarchical

LDAP also refers to the second form of "directory" above.  "LDAP" is
"Lightweight Directory Access Protocol".  i.e. it is a protocol for
accessing a directory service.

For Active Directory/Samba 4, it usually does not make much sense to
talk about which files it is stored in.  The same for OpenLDAP.  You
can, of course, find out where the data is stored, but it's not
important and the details will not be the same for every installation.
 e.g. OpenLDAP can store the information in Berkeley DB files, or it
can use an SQL database etc., but when you want to access the data
that is not important.  You use an LDAP client and you don't need to
know which files the information is stored in.  It's the same with
Samba 4 or Active Directory.

If your colleagues want to know what "directory" means in the context
of Samba 4, it is basically the same as what it means when referring
to "Active Directory".  So if they are happy with the meaning of
"Active Directory" there should be no problem.

Michael Wood <esiotrot at>

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