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slapo-memberof(5) confusing documentation
The slapo-memberof(5) manpage mentions limitations on when it can be
used, in the context of replication. The current text is very
confusing, and possibly not self-consistent.
This message might be more appropriate as an ITS PR, but I'm sending it
here first, partly in case I've got the wrong end of the stick, and
partly as google-bait for the benefit of anyone as puzzled as I was.
The text currently says:
The memberof overlay may be used with any backend that provides full
read-write functionality, but it is mainly intended for use with local
storage backends. The maintenance operations it performs are internal
to the server on which the overlay is configured and are never
replicated. Replica servers should be configured with their own
instances of the memberOf overlay if it is desired to maintain these
memberOf attributes on the replicas.
Fine -- that seems to me to say very clearly that the memberof attribute
is OK to use across replicas, as long as each replica has its own
However, immediately after that, the text says:
Note that slapo-memberOf is not compatible with syncrepl based
replication, and should not be used in a replicated environment. An
alternative is to use slapo-dynlist to emulate slapo-memberOf
This seems to flatly contradict (my understanding of) the first part of
So which is it?
A 2009 list thread  seems to suggest that you can sort of get away
with it, but only just. However another list thread (2015)  describes
an apparently successful setup using simple syncrepl, with memberof in
the provider and consumer, and where the memberof attribute is
automatically excluded from the replication (there’s explicit advice
not to exclude it using exattrs=memberof in the syncrepl setup). The
latter posting refers to ITS issue 7400 , ‘Memberof and Syncrepl
incompatibility’, which last had activity in 2012, but which still
appears to be open. The latter issue notes in passing that ‘memberof
must be configured on each replica’, which implies that this is a
**However**: closed ITS 8613 (2017)  says baldly that
The slapo-memberOf overlay is not safe to use in a replicated
environment due to the way in which replication occurs.
It also explains why, and gives a (compressed but complete) suggestion
of how one might use the dynlist overlay to do something similar. A 2018
list message  says in passing
Unfortunately, there is no defined standard for the “memberOf”
functionality (it’s a MS hack) and so there’s nothing that details
how it should or shouldn’t behave with replication.
Going with the most recent statement, therefore, it seems that this it's
simply not possible to use memberOf in a replicated environment, unless
(rather precariously, I'd have thought) you completely avoid 'refresh'
mode in replication, as mentioned in .
I suggest adjusting the text in the slapo-memberof manpage. If the
third sentence (‘Replica servers should...’) were simply removed,
that would remove most of the contradiction. In the following sentence
(‘Note that...’), the sentence first seems to suggest that it's only
syncrepl replication that the overlay is incompatible with (ie, that
there are other replication mechanisms which will work), but it goes on
to state that it's incompatible with _all_ replication methods. Which
Finally, given the aside in , it might be worth indicating in the
manpage that memberOf should only be used when other considerations
force it, and should (by the sound of it) be avoided otherwise.
Have I misunderstood something?
Norman Gray : https://nxg.me.uk