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General Issues

Hello, and please bare with me for a second.  I'm have just finished
reading the admin and quickstart guides on openldap.org and the
openldap-howto.  I have succesfully set up the server but have no
entries in it.  This is where my knowledge ends.  Am I correct in
understanding that microsoft's Active Directory is built on LDAP?  Also,
this is my question.  I have been bombarded with the buzzwords, but
really just need someone to explain to me the practical applications for
ldap.  As far as I know I can use it with pam to centralize logins on my
linux machines.  But can't I use it to centralize windows machine logins
too?  Also, address books for windows (outlook), netscape, etc. aren't
those able to be stored in ldap?  Then the followup to this, how (and
where) do I begin to add users to the ldap directory.  The openldap page
just basically says how to get it set up and running which I've done,
but not the practical methods for using it.  Could someone please
enlighten me or point me in the right direction?  Thanks so much in

P.S. - Is there a consensus "good" GUI administratrion tool for this? 

Glover George
Systems/Networks Admin
Gulf Sales & Supply, Inc.
(228) 762-0268