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389 Directory Server GUI with Cockpit

So I have a 389 Directory Server up and running. The next step to ease administration was to find a GUI. My first logical approach was to use Apache Studio, however I'm trying to the keep number of non ARM applications on my shiny Apple M1 MacBook Pro to an absolute minimum, so I opted to not install Apache Studio. At least not yet. Luckily, I learned that RedHat has a Webmin equivalent called Cockpit that comes with built-in support for 389 Directory Server Management.

The Cockpit application was already installed on my base RHEL 8 system, I simply just copied over my fullchain Let's Encrypt SSL certificate to /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/ssl.cert and restart the service.

systemctl restart cockpit

Then it was just a matter of updating firewalld

firewall-cmd --add-port=9090/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=9090/tcp
firewall-cmd --reload

The Cockpit application runs by default on :9090
Cockpit web interface


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Creating an LDAP read-only service account

So now that I have an LDAP server up and running. I can finally start creating ldap clients to authenticate to my server. Before I can start configuring applications or even adding normal LDAP users,

1). Creating the service account

dsidm localhost user create \
--uid binduser \
--uidNumber 1001 \
--gidNumber 1001 \
--cn binduser \
--displayName binduser

2). Create a password for the service account

dsidm localhost account reset_password uid=binduser,ou=people,dc=rubyninja,dc=org

3). To Modify/add permissions of the binduser service account. I created a file called binduser.ldif with the following contents:

dn: ou=people,dc=rubyninja,dc=org
changetype: modify
add: aci
aci: (targetattr="*") (version 3.0; acl "Allow uid=binduser reading to everything";
 allow (search, read) userdn = "ldap:///uid=binduser,ou=people,dc=rubyninja,dc=org";)

Apply the changes

ldapmodify -H ldaps://localhost -D "cn=Directory Manager" -W -x -f binduser.ldif

NOTE: A fair warning, although I've worked with LDAP and had some experience with it. Even at some point one of my job responsibilities was managing an enterprise OpenLDAP infrastructure. LDAP is not quite one of my forté, so in no way shape or form are these best practices! These is just a mere POC for my homelab.


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Deploying a 389 Directory Server

So it's been roughly nine months since I created a useful technical post on this site. So what better way to than to post the information about the newly deployed LDAP 389 Directory Server I just did on my homelab.

Ever since Red Hat announced that RHEL was going to be of no cost for developer and testing personal use (with limits, of course). This was perfect occasion for me to start using RHEL 8.

1). Disable SELinux (yes, I know. I should do better..)

sudo setenforce 0

2). Update firewall

firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port={389/tcp,636/tcp,9830/tcp}
firewall-cmd --reload
firewall-cmd --list-all

3). Install epel repo

yum install
yum module install 389-directory-server:stable/default

4). Create LDAP instance

config_version = 2


sample_entries = yes
suffix = dc=rubyninja,dc=org

5). Create 389 DS instance

dscreate from-file nstance.inf

6). Create ~/.dsrc config

# Note that '/' is replaced to '%%2f'.
uri = ldapi://%%2fvar%%2frun%%2fslapd-localhost.socket
basedn = dc=rubyninja,dc=org
binddn = cn=Directory Manager

7). Afterwards, I'm able to verify my installation

[[email protected] ldap]# dsctl localhost status
Instance "localhost" is running

8). Since, I kept the default settings when I created the Create 389 DS instance, my server received the name "localhost". Hence why my ~/.dsrc config also has the instance configured as "localhost".
The corresponding systemd service and [email protected] and with the config files stored in /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost

systemctl status [email protected]

ls -l /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/

SSL Configuration
By default the ds-389 setup is using self-sign certificates. The following was used to install my self-sign cert for

1). Create private root CA key ssh signed cert

openssl genrsa -out rootCA.key 4096
openssl req -x509 -new -nodes -key rootCA.key -sha256 -days 4096 -out rootCA.pem

2). I created the following script to easily generate a certificate key-pair signed by my custom local CA.


[[ ! -d "./certs" ]] && mkdir certs

cat \
/etc/pki/tls/openssl.cnf \
- \
<<-CONFIG > certs/ca-selfsign-ssl.cnf

[ san ]
subjectAltName="${SAN:[email protected]}"

# generate client key
openssl genrsa -out certs/ssl.key 4096

# generate csr
openssl req \
-sha256 \
-new \
-key certs/ssl.key \
-reqexts san \
-extensions san \
-subj "/" \
-config certs/ca-selfsign-ssl.cnf \
-out certs/ssl.csr

# sign cert
openssl x509 -req -in certs/ssl.csr -CA rootCA.pem -CAkey rootCA.key -CAcreateserial -days 2048 -sha256 -extensions san -extfile certs/ca-selfsign-ssl.cnf -out certs/ssl.crt

3). Then I had to certutil utility to view the names and attributes the default SSL certs had.

[[email protected]]# certutil -L -d /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/ -f /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/pwdfile.txt

Certificate Nickname Trust Attributes

ca_cert CT,,
Server-Cert u,u,u

4). Once I made note of the name and attributes of the SSL certificates, we will first need to delete them before replacing them with my custom SSL certs

certutil -d /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/ -n Server-Cert -f /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/pwdfile.txt -D Server-Cert.crt
certutil -d /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/ -n Self-Signed-CA -f /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/pwdfile.txt -D Self-Signed-CA.pem

Adding new SSL certs:

certutil -A -d /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/ -n "ca_cert" -t "CT,," -i rootCA.pem -f /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/pwdfile.txt
certutil -A -d /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/ -n "Server-Cert" -t ",," -i ssl/ssl.crt -f /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/pwdfile.txt

5). While the certutil utility manages signed public and CA certificates. Private SSL certificates are managed by the pk12util utility.
However, before we use this tool, we must covert the X.509 private ssl certificate to a pkcs12 format.

openssl pkcs12 -export -out certs/ssl.pfx -inkey certs/ssl.key -in certs/ssl.crt -certfile /root/ssl/rootCA.pem

Afterwards, we can added it to our LDAP SSL database.

pk12util -d /etc/dirsrv/slapd-localhost/ -i certs/ssl.pfx

6). Lastly, restart the service

systemctl restart [email protected]



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