Brining Linux to Work – Portal Part 1

Beginning this month, I’ll be attempting to infuse my place of work with Linux. I am an new Applications Analyst and resident AIX/Linux expert for a government agency that lives and breaths Microsoft. I feel that Open Source software, mainly, Linux…can be a great addition to this agency. I’ll be documenting my attempts here while I go along. If you have tips, tricks, solutions, advice or supportive comments…please respond in kind.

You’ve Got to Start Somewhere…

Recently, I’ve been investigating portal applications (CMS portals) for an intranet server at work. The portal will act as a document repository and project status report tool. It needs to plug into the framework we have in place currently…which is a Windows 2000 Active Directory environment. Instead of powering this with IIS or WinXp with Apache…I’ve elected to go with Linux and Apache. However, I didn’t really investigate much to figure out if this would be a possibility. Problems were rampant and still are. Allow me to explain.

I’ve been given the requirements that any intranet page must be single sign on, meaning that when a user visits the page, they don’t have to login…they’re simply there and logged in already. This can be done using the apache ntlm module. I can also pass this parameter using Tomcat and JOSS with php. However, the ntlm module won’t compile on Ubuntu or SuSe and hence won’t install. So, that took away my top two choices for Linux distros (not to mention, caused me to waste 2 days of time). JOSS requires that I write and plugin my own php script which is something I don’t want to do currently. So I’m back at square one. I’ve changed direction and am instaling CentOS 4 currently…we’ll see where that takes me. I’ve had more luck with CentOS as a server (my server at home has around 120 days for uptime currently and runs CentOS at its core).

Some of you are probably saying, “just use OpenLDAP any distro”. Well, that would be just fine if my requirements were to use the LDAP database for user authentication making the user sign on one time only…however, stipulations for me were ZERO sign in…hence single sign on…they login to our domain here and then never have to login again. So, ntlm is the only way currently. Finding a CMS is up next.

I’ve looked at midgard but am thinking it is way to complicated. I just want a simple page that can act as a document repository. I’ve looked at and installed knowledgetree but there currently is no single sign on support at all so it is out of the question. I’ve looked at Zope and Plone and found it to be right along the lines of what I need. The problem I hit is that I have to use Apache to pass the ntlm to the Zope server…so it’s going to take some configuring (this is the #1 candidate right now though).

So does anyone out there have any idea of a CMS that can use SSO (Single Sign On) in a Win2k Active directory environment with minimal configuration (as this needs to go up in about 2 weeks)? I’m all ears. The next update should be my attempt to use CentOS with ntlm and apache/zope/plone.

Wish me Luck,


This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Author: devnet

devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix and Linux administrator, a Technical Writer, a System Analyst, and a Systems Engineer during his 20+ years working with Technology.