I do some voluntary work for a small private K-12 school, and they just received a donation of about 20 used computers from a large corporation.

They came with blank hard-drives, so I need to install an OS and I’m thinking Ubuntu might be a great option.

Ideally, I would like to have central user accounts and shared central storage.

Is there something similar to MS-AD for Ubuntu?


If you want a more complete solution, I advice you to use OpenLdap.

OpenLDAP give you the possibility to authenticate your LAN users across the network etc.

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For a school, the greatest solution is probably to install Edubuntu, using the LTSP server. It's more of a Citrix kind of approach, where you have one server with all the accounts, and all other computers are thin clients. It's quite easy to setup, and very scalable.

Note that this can be combined with an LDAP server (even an AD if you want) on the LTSP server. There are documentations on how to scale LTSP with NFS/samba and LDAP.

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Rather than MS-AD you could use samba for networked drives you can set passwords on folders and stuff too if you need access permissions.

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  • This is what I currently use at home - an Ubuntu PC running a Samba server and several Ubuntu / Windows PCs acting as clients. It works, but I need to manually copy the user lists between the Ubuntu clients to keep them all in-sync. From what I've read, OpenLDAP is a lot more complex than Samba, but does get rid of the need to copy the user/group files around. – Skizz Aug 23 '10 at 21:13

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