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Lesson 6. Using Open Directory > What Is Open Directory?

What Is Open Directory?

Apple's extensible directory-services architecture, called Open Directory, is built into Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server and includes authentication services. Because it is an integral part of Mac OS X, several services on Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server use information from Open Directory. For secure login to these services, Open Directory has a built-in authentication authority that uses Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) and Kerberos (for more on Kerberos, see Kerberos_v2.mov on the CD-ROM). Using these authentication authorities, Open Directory can securely store and validate the passwords of users who want to log in to client computers on your network or use other network resources that require authentication. You can also use Open Directory to enforce policies such as password expiration and minimum length and to manage user preferences.

Open Directory can also authenticate Windows users for directory login, file services, print service, and other Windows services that Mac OS X Server provides. Open Directory has been integrated with Samba 3, which allows an Open Directory server to function as a Windows primary domain controller (PDC) or a backup domain controller (BDC).


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