Microsoft’s divide and conqueror

Active directory and LDAP are to most used authentication tools in the world today, used by many companies and on-line services to authenticate and authorise users for accessing the provided resources.

We have been working on a project for a customer and in it we had to use the company’s Active directory for authenticating users to the UI of the platform, the system is running on Linux so we configured LDAP to query the AD.

Microsoft is proud to announce that it is the largest contributor to open source projects on github today, and declaring that they “embrace” open-source (“look you can even run Ms-SQL on Linux”).

So far everything sounds very nice and simple, and then we tried to get the list of users and we encountered a simple ugly frustrating truth:

 Contributing != Collaborating 

Starting in 2003 Microsoft has added a limitation into the AD configuration that disallows any other protocol that queries the AD from getting a list of records that is longer then 1000 , if you want the list of users and the company has 1002 , your LDAP query will only give back either the first 1000 or the last (depends on your filters) and if you have more then 10,000 , you are in a big problem.

There is a “fix” that can allow you to get more then the 1000 results posted on the Microsoft tech net, but it might not be suitable for everyone as not every Linux System person may have access or the cooperation of the company’s IT to implement it.

This behaviour persisted in the 2008 and later versions of the AD platform so we can see that Microsoft might be “embracing” Open-Source but they are very far from “integrate with Open Source”, As we can imagine the change to allow these 2 tools to work seamlessly with each  other should not be that complex, as it was possible in the past, but it seems that the commercial aspect [e.g. force others to move to AD] is the prevailing thought that stops the change.