TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Strangers in a foreign land

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: MacEnterprise, networking

Strangers in a foreign land

Integrating OS X with Active Directory

By Philip Rinehart, Yale University

Active Directory!

Of the topics that come up on the Macenterprise list, Active Directory and its integration with OS X is discussed frequently. Why? Many environments are using Active Directory for integration for the Windows side of the house, and many Mac administrators don't want to manage the information store separately for Macs alone. This month we will look at some tips for working with the Active Directory plug-in. Let's get started!

Binding

Binding, what is it? Directory Services uses a machine account and "binds" the account to the Active Directory domain. When logging in, the authentication framework is able to use the bound machine's account for non-local users. As a result, a user is granted access to a machine without a local account. With the Active Directory plug-in, there are a number of intricacies that make binding difficult. We will look at one of the most common issues. Before we begin this discussion, though, remember to check forward and reverse DNS, a common binding problem. For more information about testing, check out the article here, http://macenterprise.org/content/view/305/84.

Finding my Organizational Unit

Often, an administrator does not have access to the default Organizational Unit used by the Active Directory plug-in. How does an administrator find their Organizational Unit then? Fortunately, the tools for performing a lookup are built into OS X! Let's look at a rather verbose command.

ldapsearch -LLL -Hldap://yourdomaincontroller.ad.test -x -D "admin@ad.test" -b "dc=ad,dc=test" -W  "cn=activedirectorycomputerobjectname" dn

Looks rather complicated doesn't it? Fortunately, it isn't that hard to understand once we dissect it a little bit. The first option, -LLL is not strictly necessary. However, using it omits comments, restricts the output to LDIFv1 (not important here), and the last L prevents printing of the LDIF version.

Next, the -H option is specified. This option is very important! Enter the URI of a domain controller that has a copy of the Global Catalog. Ldapsearch uses this domain controller to look up information about a computer account.

Next, the -x option is used for simple authentication, not SSL. In some cases, SSL is not used on domain controllers. The -D option is important, as it supplies the Active Directory credentials that are used to authenticate for the LDAP search.

-b provides the search base. The search base is the point in the LDAP tree where the search should begin. If unsure, enter the top level of the forest. -W is similar to using the -x option, telling ldapsearch to prompt for the password, instead of supplying it with the ldapsearch command.

The last two entries are used to get the actual Organizational Unit path. The first option "cn=activedirectorycomputerobjectname" looks for the computer account in Active Directory. The last option tells ldapsearch that only the dn attribute is important. It's o.k. not to specify it, but every attribute is then returned. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Try executing the command once. After you have the hang of it, you will find how powerful ldapsearch can be. As a sanity check, here's an example of how the ldapsearch results might appear:

dn: CN=mbp,OU=One,OU=Two,OU=Three,OU=Four,DC=ad,DC=test

With this information, it's easy to determine the OU path for machine binding. Note however that the machine account must exist before this search is executed. The command and its results could also be wrapped in Applescript, an Automator action, or any other scripting language. Once the machine is bound, the fun begins!

Static maps

One of the hidden gems of the Active Directory plug-in is the ability to use "static maps". Usage of static maps was originally conceived for usage with the LDAP plug-in, but it can now be used for mapping any needed attributes. Let's use an example. On the list, a discussion about using NFS shares on Active Directory asked about how to provide an attribute for each user logging in that would be exactly the same. Static maps to the rescue! Here's how to do it:

This will require a little bit of command line magic. Open a terminal, and enter the following command:

dsconfigad -staticmap attributetype attributevalue

Three attributes should not be statically mapped, UID, RecordName and GeneratedUID. As stated in the man page, mapping these attributes may produce "unexpected" results. What is the syntax? It's pretty simple, first the attribute value. Attribute values are preceded by a pound sign "#". If the goal is to have every non-local user use the same value, enter #value to provide each user with that value at login. Another feature, variable mappings, is not available with the Active Directory plug-in. It should also be noted that using static maps is only available from the command line using dsconfigad.

Timeout values

Controlling the timeout values for the Active Directory plug-in involves editing the ActiveDirectory.plist in /Library/Preferences/DirectoryService. First, note that this procedure is completely unsupported by Apple! A very common problem occurs with mobile accounts and Active Directory is extremely slow logins. This problem commonly occurs due to the fact that the Domain Controller is firewalled, and unavailable outside the corporate network. For each Domain Controller, a value of 240 seconds is assigned. Imagine what happens when the laptop user goes home. Login times, and even wake from sleep times can become almost unbearably long. Fortunately, an administrator who knows what values to change in the plist can alter them, reducing the timeout times manually. Open the ActiveDirectory.plist in your favorite editor. Next search for the following entries:

<key>LDAP Connection Timeout</key>
<string>240</string>

This entry usually occurs in multiple places. Depending on your environment, change the value to a lower value. Restart the computer, and the timeout values should be in effect. It has been reported that for some environments the value may get overwritten, but in my experience it has worked.

Question marks in the Dock

The last thing that appeared recently is the appearance of a host of question marks in the dock on Intel-based machines when using the Active Directory plug-in with mobile accounts. Credit Mike Yocom and Brian Warsing for this solution. It is a bit involved, but does solve the problem quite nicely.

Step one: Convert com.apple.dock.plist for each user to xml. This task is best accomplished with a loginhook. Here is the command:

plutil -convert xml1 -o /tmp/foo.xml com.apple.dock.plist

Step two: Use a bit of xmlmagic, using xsltproc to filter out "_CFURLAliasData" entries from the plist.

xsltproc -o com.apple.dock.plist /path/to/style-sheet/com-apple-dock-style.xsl /tmp/foo.xml

And the required style sheet:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<xsl:stylesheet version='1.0'
xmlns:xsl='http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform'>
<xsl:output method='xml' version='1.0' encoding='utf-8' indent='yes'
doctype-public="-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
doctype-system="http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"/>
<!-- This template copies the entire root -->
<xsl:template match="@*|node()">
    <xsl:copy>
        <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()"/>
    </xsl:copy>
</xsl:template>
<!-- This template removes the _CFURLAliasData node -->
<xsl:template match="array/dict/dict/dict/key">
    <xsl:variable name="foo">
        <xsl:value-of select="." />
    </xsl:variable>
    <xsl:choose>
        <xsl:when test="$foo = '_CFURLAliasData'">
            <!-- Do nothing. I mean don't print it -->
        </xsl:when>
        <xsl:otherwise>
            <!-- Output a copy of the orig. node -->
            <xsl:copy-of select="." />
        </xsl:otherwise>
    </xsl:choose>
</xsl:template>
<!-- This template dumps the data nodes with the alias data -->
<xsl:template match="array/dict/dict/dict/data">
    <xsl:for-each select="." />
</xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>

Step 3: There is no step 3!

It really is that simple once all of the pieces are in place, and solves the immediate problem so that question marks will not appear in the dock. This month, we've tackled some of the most recent issues with Active Directory. As always, Active Directory integration continues to be a very complex problem, as each environment has unique qualities. Keep sending in feedback to Apple, and keep discussing on the lists, to make the Active Directory plug-in as good as it can be! One last thing, check out the following Best Practices paper about Active Directory integration from Apple: http://images.apple.com/itpro/pdf/AD_Best_Practices_2.0.pdf. It also supplies very useful information about troubleshooting and integration. Until next month, see you on the lists!


Philip Rinehart is co-chair of the steering committee leading the Mac OS X Enterprise Project (macenterprise.org) and is the Lead Mac Analyst at Yale University. He has been using Macintosh Computers since the days of the Macintosh SE, and Mac OS X since its Developer Preview Release. Before coming to Yale, he worked as a Unix system administrator for a dot-com company. He can be reached at: philip.rinehart@yale.edu. The MacEnterprise project is a community of IT professionals sharing information and solutions to support Macs in an enterprise. We collaborate on the deployment, management, and integration of Mac OS X client and server computers into multi-platform computing environments.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Paragraphs 1.0.1 - Writing tool just for...
Paragraphs is an app just for writers. It was built for one thing and one thing only: writing. It gives you everything you need to create brilliant prose and does away with the rest. Everything in... Read more
BlueStacks App Player 0.9.21 - Run Andro...
BlueStacks App Player lets you run your Android apps fast and fullscreen on your Mac. Version 0.9.21: Note: Now requires OS X 10.8 or later running on a 64-bit Intel processor. Initial stable... Read more
Apple iTunes 12.2 - Play Apple Music...
Apple iTunes lets you organize and stream Apple Music, download and watch video and listen to Podcasts. It can automatically download new music, app, and book purchases across all your devices and... Read more
Apple Security Update 2015-005 - For OS...
Apple Security Update 2015-005 is recommended for all users and improves the security of OS X. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.... Read more
Apple HP Printer Drivers 3.1 - For OS X...
Apple HP Printer Drivers includes the latest HP printing and scanning software for OS X Lion or later. For information about supported printer models, see this page. Version 3.1: The latest printing... Read more
Epson Printer Drivers 3.1 - For OS X 10....
Epson Printer Drivers installs the latest software for your EPSON printer or scanner for OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Lion. For more information about printing and... Read more
Xcode 6.4 - Integrated development envir...
Xcode provides everything developers need to create great applications for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Xcode brings user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging into a united workflow. The Xcode... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 - Apple's lat...
OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels entirely fresh, yet inherently familiar. The apps you use every day, enhanced with new features. And a... Read more
Dash 3.0.2 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0 - Font management...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more

Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice,... | Read more »
Hands-On With Raceline CC
Set for release soon, Rebellion’s motorbike racing game, Raceline CC certainly looks stylish. But how does it play? I got my hands on a preview build to answer exactly that. | Read more »
Siegefall - Tips, Tricks, and Strategies...
So, you fancy establishing a base and ruling the world again. Siegefall is a convenient place to do that, but how about some great tips and tricks on how best to go about it? Here are a few ideas on how to get ahead as a beginner to this medieval... | Read more »
The WWE Comes to Racing Rivals - Because...
Racing Rivals is a racing game that's all about, well, rivalry. And who knows rivalry better than WWE superstars (shhhh, that was rhetorical)? [Read more] | Read more »
Hey, Who Put Apple Music in My SoundHoun...
One of the App Store's popular music discovery sources - SoundHound - has already been updated to include Apple's own music discovery source - Apple Music. That was fast! [Read more] | Read more »
Arcane Legends has a New Expansion Calle...
Arcane Legends has been going strong since it debuted at the tail end of 2012. So well, in fact, that it's already up to its sixth expansion. [Read more] | Read more »
Vector 2 is Officially a Thing and it...
Vector is a pretty cool parkour-driven runner that's gotten a pretty decent following since it first came out - although personally I think more people could stand to show it some love. Anyway, Nekki has announced that a sequel isofficially on its... | Read more »
Get Ready to Trucksform and Roll Out (an...
It looks like NuOxygen is bringing the truck-transforming racer Trucksform (get it?) to iOS in a couple of weeks. Although really it's more of an auto-driver than a racer. But still, transforming trucks! [Read more] | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps:June 22-26, 2015
June's Summer Journey Continues With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice,... | Read more »
LEGO® Minifigures Online (Games)
LEGO® Minifigures Online 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Logo Pop Free Vector Logo Design App For OS X...
128bit Technologies has released of Logo Pop Free 1.2 for Mac OS X, a vector based, full-fledged, logo design app available exclusively on the Mac App Store for the agreeable price of absolutely free... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999, save $1...
B&H Photo has new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Best Buy has the 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999.99 on their... Read more
16GB iPad mini 3 on sale for $339, save $60
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $339 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $60 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $40 on iPad Air 2, NY tax only, fr...
B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $40 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $489 $10 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $559 $40 off - 128GB iPad Air... Read more
Apple Releases OS X 10.10.4 With WIFi Fix, iO...
On Tuesday, Apple released final versions of OS X 10.10.4 and iOS 8.4, as well as updates for the Safari browser for OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, and Mountain Lion. The OS X 10.10.4 update focuses on... Read more
Dual-Band High-Gain Antennas for Home Wi-Fi N...
Linksys has announced what it claims are the first dual-band, omni-directional high-gain antennas for the consumer market. The new Linksys high-gain antennas available in a 2- and 4-pack (WRT004ANT... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 15-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. They have... Read more
Clearance 2014 MacBook Airs available for up...
Adorama has 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $301 off original MSRP including NY + NJ sales tax and free shipping: - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $798 $301 off original MSRP - 13″ 128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for $100 off MSRP, free ship...
B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2199, also $100... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679, save $...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Payments Security Manager - *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior payments security manager to join the Apple Pay security team. You will Read more
Project Manager - *Apple* Pay Security - Ap...
**Job Summary** The Apple Pay Security team is seeking a highly organized, results-driven Project Manager to drive the development of Apple Pay Security. If you are Read more
Web Developer, *Apple* Online Store Innovat...
**Job Summary** The Apple Online Store Innovation Lab team is seeking a talented individual with strong web development and design skills to prototype future Apple Read more
*Apple* TV Live Streaming Frameworks Test En...
**Job Summary** Work and contribute towards the engineering of Apple 's state-of-the-art products involving video, audio, and graphics in Interactive Media Group (IMG) at Read more
Project Manager, WW *Apple* Fulfillment Ope...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.