Centrify Express is a gratis but not open source client for integrating various platforms (such as Linux and Mac) to active directory. I wrote about Likewise Open before when trying to get Linux on Active Directory with some success. Today I deployed Centrify on a few machines to see if it could fare any better.
Ubuntu 10.04 Server: Centrify worked very well for this. Likewise open has many bugs that annoy me in Ubuntu so that’s what really motivated me to try something new. I ran into a little trouble installing it, but after running apt-get -f install it worked fine. Likewise in Ubuntu has a default domain bug and it also doesn’t seem to like installing on my Proxmox template for some reason. Of course Centrify isn’t (and probably never will be) in Ubuntu’s repositories which make it slightly harder to install.
Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop: Desktop support is always where I get problems in trying to make linux work in Active Directory. The biggest annoyance is getting it to work in a wifi environment. Turn on wireless laptop, new user logs in, authentication failure. It has to do with network-manager not really connecting as soon as you think it would (even if available to all users is checked off). This is what really kills Linux for me in a place where people need to use different computers (ie school). Removing network-manager fixes it somewhat, but I still have issues where I have to wait a few minutes before it allows domain logins. It does at least appear that Centrify works as soon as network is available while likewise seems to just sit for a couple minutes before it works. Centrify however is missing some features that are a great in a company network. Likewise will pass on login information to pam and when connecting to samba shares. Centrify does not (edit, it can be made to work with pam_mount with some work arounds). Also when I log in with GDM in centrify I have to enter the password twice for gnome-keyring to work then again every time I connect to a samba share. There is a “centrified” version of Samba that I wasn’t able to get installed. Likewise just works in this case.
- Less buggy to set up
- Assumes default domain
- Mitigates wifi issue at least a little bit
- Not open source
- Not in Ubuntu repository
- Must enter password twice on login for gnome-keyring when using GDM, though there is a work around.
- Doesn’t pass credentials to Samba shares
- Little documentation. * edit they do have a pdf manual but they don’t have the forums history likewise does. When I Google Likewise <description of problem> I get results, while with Centrify I really have to hunt.
Once again Linux can integrate well with AD in server land but has issues for end user desktops. Workswithu did a article comparing the two programs too for those interested. Overall Centrify is an acceptable solution, but falls short of a Linux Active Directory integration that “just works.”