(Answer) (Category) OpenLDAP Faq-O-Matic : (Category) General LDAP FAQ : (Answer) What is LDAP?
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an open-standard protocol for accessing X.500 directory services. The protocol runs over Internet transport protocols, such as TCP.
LDAP is a lightweight alternative to the X.500 Directory Access Protocol (DAP) for use on the Internet. It uses TCP/IP stack verses the overly complex OSI stack. It also has other simplications, such as the representing most attribute values and many protocol items as textual strings, that are designed to make clients easier to implement.

X.500 recommendations are available from the ITU (http://www.itu.int/).

LDAP version 3 (LDAPv3) is an Internet "Proposed Standard" and is documented by the various RFCs, including:
  • RFC 4510 - Lightweight Directory Access Protocol: Technical Specification Road Map
  • RFC 4511 - LDAP: The Protocol
  • RFC 4512 - LDAP: Directory Information Models
  • RFC 4513 - LDAP: Authentication Methods and Security Mechanisms
  • RFC 4514 - LDAP: DN
  • RFC 4515 - LDAP: Search Filters
  • RFC 4516 - LDAP: URL
  • RFC 4517 - LDAP: Syntaxes and Matching Rules
  • RFC 4518 - LDAP: Internationalized String Preparation
  • RFC 4519 - LDAP: Schema for User Applications

LDAP version 2 (LDAPv2) is a now Historic (see RFC 3494).
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