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Re: LDAP in deltasyncrepl method

Jorge Armando Medina <jmedina@e-compugraf.com> writes:

> Why do you say the openldap version shipped with RHEL5.x is not usable
> as a server?, I don't use RHEL as my main directory server, but I would
> like to know why you affirm that.

Even speaking as someone who helps (when he has time) to maintain packages
for a Linux distribution, for a serious server installation you are
probably best-off building OpenLDAP yourself or at least being prepared
to.  You can do that based on the packaging done by your distribution,
ideally, but you still want to be prepared to update to the latest

I'd love to be able to provide a server with Debian releases that everyone
could just use always, but realistically, it's very difficult to do.
OpenLDAP is extremely well-maintained and vigorously-maintained software,
and it's also very complex software, which means that any given release at
any point in time has a potentially fairly significant set of undiscovered
bugs (not to mention missing new important features).  When making a Linux
distirbution, you necessarily have to pick some release and freeze.  That
freeze point is generally chosen by some distribution release schedule
rather than by anything related to OpenLDAP's development, and hence can
often accidentally pick a bad version.  But more to the point, after that
freeze point, OpenLDAP moves on and the distribution cannot and still
maintain its stability guarantees.

Distributions have a real challenge around fast-changing,
vigorously-maintained software, which is that upgrading to newer versions
is often desireable but also means introducing change into stable
releases, which is exactly opposite to the point of release stability.
Debian in particular takes a very hard line with this, keeping its stable
distribution extremely stable and only updating it for security
vulnerabilities and very significant bugs.  In a lot of situations, this
is what you want -- for example, in practice, it works fairly well for the
client libraries.  However, for the server, that means you get a server
with a fairly large collection of known bugs, none of which are completely
debilitating, but all of which collectively are often more than you should
have to deal with.

Furthermore, just because Red Hat, or Debian, or Ubuntu, or any other
distribution picked some OpenLDAP version that happened to coincide with
their release cycle, that doesn't mean that the OpenLDAP project should
have to support it forever.  That isn't at all fair to the OpenLDAP
developers, who have moved on and fixed all those bugs and are now working
on other things.  That means that when you're running the distribution
version, you're frequently not running something that anyone on the
OpenLDAP lists can really support, and the first step in getting to a
supportable installation is to upgrade to the latest version.  Again, the
server tends to be more of an issue than the client libraries simply
because it changes more.

What this realistically means is that I hope that the server that ships
with any given Debian stable release is useful for small projects, small
sites, and people who just need a simple LDAP server, and hence aren't
likely to exercise most of the edge cases where bugs have since been
fixed.  However, if you have a large site, a complicated installation, or
problems for which you need to seek help here, the first thing people are
likely going to want you to do is to update to a current version, and
that's entirely reasonable.

Russ Allbery (rra@stanford.edu)             <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>