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The Most Complete History of Directory Services You Will Ever Find

April 13, 2012 18 comments

I started working with Directory Servers back in 1997 when Netscape was but a fledging company. Over the past 15 years a lot has changed. Companies have come and gone and code has changed hands more times than I care to remember. But one thing remains the same – that little effort started by Tim Howes, Mark Smith, and Gordon Good at the University of Michigan is as important today as it was almost two decades ago.
 
I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look back at the various companies that have carried the LDAP mantle for stand-alone directory servers and see where we are today. As such, I have created a table of pertinent events (see below) as well as a graphical timeline (see thumbnail).
 
I offer you the industry’s most most complete history of directory services that you will ever find – well, at least until the next one comes along.
 

Directory Services Timeline

The Most Complete History of Directory Services You Will Ever Find

(Until the next one comes along)

Date Event

Source

1969 First Arpanet node comes online; first RFC published.

1

1973 Ethernet invented by Xerox PARC researchers.

1

1982 TCP/IP replaces older Arpanet protocols on the Internet.

1

1982 First distributed computing research paper on Grapevine published by Xerox PARC researchers.

1

1984 Internet DNS comes online.

1

1986 IETF formally chartered.

1

1989 Quipu (X.500 software package) released.

1

1990 Estimated number of Internet hosts exceeds 250,000.

1

1990 First version of the X.500 standard published.

1

1991 A team at CERN headed by Tim Berners-Lee releases the first World Wide Web software.

1

1992 University of Michigan developers release the first LDAP software.

1

1993 NDS debuts in Netware 4.0.

1

July 1993 LDAP specification first published as RFC 1487.

1

December 1995 First standalone LDAP server (SLAPD) ships as part of U-M LDAP 3.2 release.

1

April 1996 Consortium of more than 40 leading software vendors endorses LDAP as the Internet directory service protocol of choice.

1

1996 Netscape Hires Tim Howes, Mark Smith, and Gordon Good from University of Michigan.  Howes serves as a directory server architect.

2

September 1997 Sun Microsystems releases Sun Directory Services 1.0, derived from U-M LDAP 3.2

3

November 1997 LDAPv3 named the winner of the PC Magazine Award for Technical Excellence.

1

December 1997 LDAPv3 approved as a proposed Internet Standard.

1

1998 The OpenLDAP Project was started by Kurt Zeilenga.  The project started by cloning the LDAP reference source from the University Of Michigan.

5

January 1998 Netscape ships the first commercial LDAPv3 directory server.

1

March 1998 Innosoft acquires Mark Walh’s Critical Angle company, relesases LDAP directory server product 4.1 one month later.

4

July 1998 Sun Microsystems ships Sun Directory Server 3.1, implementing LDAPv3 standards

3

July 1998 Estimated number of Internet hosts exceeds 36 million.

1

1999 AOL acquires Netscape and forms the iPlanet Alliance with Sun Microsystems.

6

March 1999 Innosoft team, led by Mark Wahl, releases Innosoft Distributed Directory Server 5.0

3

March 2000 Sun Microsystems acquires Innosoft, merges Innosoft directory code with iPlanet.  This forms the foundation for the iPlanet Directory Access Router.

3

October 2001 The iPlanet Alliance ends and Sun and Netscape fork the codebase.

6

October 2004 Apache Directory Server Top Level Project is formed after 1 year in incubation

3

December 2004 RedHat Purchases Netscape Server products

2

2005 Sun Microsystems initiates the OpenDS project.  An open source directory server based on the Java platform.

7

June 2005 RedHat Releases Fedora Directory Server

2

October 2006 Apache Directory Server 1.0 is released

3

2007 UnboundID releases its directory server

12

2008 AOL Stops Supporting Netscape Products

8

April 2009 Oracle purchases Sun Microsystems

9

May 2009 RedHat changes the Fedora Directory Server to 389 Directory Server

10

Feb 1, 2010 ForgeRock is founded

3

Dec 2010 ForgeRock releases OpenDJ

11

July 2011 Oracle releases Oracle Unified Directory

13

Sources:

(1) Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services; Second Edition; Timothy A. Howes, Ph.D., Mark C. Smith, and Gordon S. Good.
(2) 389 Directory Server; History (http://directory.fedoraproject.org/wiki/History).
(3) Email exchange with Ludovic Poitou (ForgeRock).
(4) Press Release, March 16th, 1998; “Innosoft Acquires LDAP Technology Leader Critical Angle Inc. (http://www.pmdf.process.com/press/critical-angle-acquire.html).
(5) OpenLDAP; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenLDAP).
(6) iPlanet; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPlanet).
(7) OpenDS; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDS).
(8) Netscape; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape).
(9) Press Release, April 20th, 2000; “Oracle Buys Sun” (http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/018363).
(10) 389 Directory Server; 389 Change FAQ (http://directory.fedoraproject.org/wiki/389_Change_FAQ).
(11) OpenDJ; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDJ).
(12)  Email exchange with Nick Crown (UnboundID).
(13) Press Release, July 20th, 2011; “Oracle Announces Oracle Unified Directory 11g” (http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/434211).

Disjointed Identity

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Having my identity located in so many different databases is like wearing multiple watches

You never really know what time it is!

Image