Nexus maven repository with Apache as proxy and OpenDJ for authentication

For a client I have recently setup a nexus (oss) maven repository with apache proxy/reverse proxy and OpenDJ to provide LDAP authentication.

Nexus, which competes with Artifactory as maven repository, by default is waiting on port 8081 with the context path /nexus, which means that you can connect to it to the address http://localhost:8081/nexus (admin/admin123)

Having defined the name of my machine as maven I first configured Apache as proxy pointing to Nexus in this way:

ProxyPass         /nexus http://maven:8081/nexus
ProxyPassReverse  /nexus http://maven:8081/nexus

Having configured Apache to accept only https connections to be forwarded to Nexus in http (so https–>Apache–>http–>Nexus), I need to add before the ProxyPass directive the following RequestHeader:

RequestHeader set X-Forwarded-Proto “https”

in this way, the Nexus zip version, which is bundled with the servlet container Jetty 8.1.11 (which from the version 7.2.0 understands x-forwarded-proto header, see also the commit related) it will reply with the connection option (forwarded=true), see below the default configuration (in /nexus/config/jetty.xml):

<Set name="host">${application-host}</Set>
<Set name="port>${application-port}</Set>
<Set name="forwarded">true</Set>

Now we add the ldap authentication, we go under Administration -> Server and add the OSS LDAP Authentication Realm to the Selected Realms.

I have OpenDJ listening on port 1389 (default), so we go under Security -> LDAP Configuration, we set the following parameters:

Protocol ldap
Hostname opendj
Port 1389
Search Base dc=my,dc=example,dc=com
Authentication method Simple Authentication
Username cn=admin
Password mypassword
User Element Mapping
Base DN ou=users
Object Class inetOrgPerson
User ID Attribute uid
Real Name Attribute cn
E-Mail Attribute mail
Group Element Mapping
Group type Dynamic groups
Member of Attribute isMemberOf

The last 2 lines are optional to Static groups, but since OpenDJ allows to use the isMemberOf attribute, I preferred to use Dynamic groups (see Nexus documentation). For static groups you can check out also this article based on OpenDS on which OpenDJ is based on.

Now if you click on the Check User Mapping button you should see the list of users and groups retrieved from OpenDJ.

The last step would be add roles to the user so we go under Security ->Roles -> Add…->External Role Mapping and we select the LDAP group which will act as nexus administrators and we add all the roles for the group. So we logout and then we login with the nexus ldap administrator.





Allow SSH users to change their passwords on OpenDJ

For a client I started to put in place a connection from ssh to OpenDJ, which I chose for previous reasons.

To setup ssh with PAM and LDAP you can follow several tutorials, the one I found more easy to follow is:

Depending on your security policy, you could need to allow ssh users to change their passwords with the passwd command, to do so the file /etc/pam.d/sshd has the following include:

# Standard Un*x password updating.
@include common-password

so a common configuration for the file common-password would be:

password        [success=2 default=ignore] obscure sha512
password        [success=1 user_unknown=ignore default=die] try_first_pass
password        requisite             
password        required              

As we can see when we change a password we check first the user in the system ( If the change succeed we skip the next 2 lines (success=2) and we allow the change ( If doesn’t succeed we check on ldap ( and if the operation succeed we skip the next line (success=1) and we allow password change (  If also the password change on ldap fails then we deny the password change (

Further, as we can see on PAM code, the pam-ldap package tries to update the attribute shadowLastChange, which

  • on unix system would correspond to the 3rd value in the /etc/shadow file  which is the number of days, (since January 1, 1970) since the password was last changed
  • on LDAP system, it is defined in the RFC 2307 as an attribute of the object shadowAccount, together with other values for password expiration, see brief description, similar to the /etc/shadow.

Therefore to allow PAM changing a password on OpenDJ we need to:

  • add the attribute shadowLastChange to the user, you can use PhpLdapAdmin to add the shadowAccount object class to your Posix users first.
  • add an ACI in OpenDJ to allow changing shadowLastChange to the binded user

You can learn how to create an ACI on OpenDJ here and also from the Oracle website.

Concerning the ACI for the password change, you could write in a ssh-shadow.ldif file something like:

dn: ou=People,dc=my,dc=domain,dc=com
changetype: modify
add: aci
aci: (targetattr = "shadowLastChange") (target = "ldap:///ou=People,dc=my,dc=domain,dc=com") (version 3.0; acl "change shadow"; allow (write) (userdn = "ldap:///self");)

where you allow the binded users (ldap:///self) to modify (write) the attribute shadowLastChange, which is similar to example reported on the OpendJ documentation to change own password.

Apply then the changes with the command:

./opendj/bin/ldapmodify -h myhost -p 1389 -D "cn=Directory Manager" -W -c -f ssh-shadow.ldif

Once the password is changed with passwd command, you can verify that the value is changed in OpenDJ with PhpLdapAdmin and also check online the correspondent date.

To delete the ACI just replace “add: aci” with “delete: aci” in the file and re-execute ldapmodify command.




16 reasons to choose OpenDJ

For a client I needed to put in place an LDAP system to be connected with Atlassian Crowd (SSO), after doing a comparison with OpenLDAP, ApacheDS and OpenDJ I decided to go for OpenDJ for several reasons:

  1. It is open source released with CDDL 1.0 license; while Apache DS is released with Apache license and OpenLDAP with it is own license.
  2. it has worldwide commercial support, some here in Belgium; Apache DS has only one company and OpenLDAP has also it is worldwide support
  3. It is a fork of OpenDS like Oracle Unified Directory so you can still find common problems for  both products
  4. The project has a clear roadmap, also described in the wiki, also ApacheDS has it.
  5. The ForgeRock company provides also another SSO solution (OpenAM), so in case in a future I want to change SSO I can think to use it, while Apache DS no.
  6. It comes packaged as ZIP, RPM and DEB, while ApacheDS has a package for each Operating System and OpenLDAP is packaged in many Operating Systems.
  7. It has very good documentation with a lot of examples (released in EPUB, HTML, PDF and RTF), while I found the one from ApacheDS  simpler or in progress (HTML , PDF) and the one of OpenLDAP is good (released in HTML and PDF).
  8. It has a rich command line tool, while I found the command line of ApacheDS simpler (relying mostly on the Apache Directory Studio or on ldap client).
  9. It is shipped with a java client (not web) while Apache DS has a gui based on Eclipse (Directory Studio)
  10. it has REST API on top of the ldap protocol, while ApacheDS leaves to SCIM such job; therefore I hope there will be a web interface using the REST API.
  11. It supports replication out of the box, also ApacheDS has itOpenLDAP as well.
  12. It seems to have very good performance (almost at OpenLDAP level) at least in comparison to ApacheDS.
  13. It has a support for the virtual attribute IsMemberOf, useful to check which groups a user belongs to, while for ApacheDS the feature needs to be still implemented.
  14. It has an implementation of the PKCS5S2 (see PBKDF2) which is used by Crowd as default despite the implementation is  different from Crowd and ApacheDS, which OpenLDAP doesn’t have (and some other password schemes as well)
  15. The development team uses Continuous Integration practices (by testing against Ubuntu and Windows), also ApacheDS by using the common Apache Jenkins and testing on Ubuntu.
  16. The team has coding guidelines providing checkstyle rules, also ApacheDS has some guidelines.

To test the performances, I did an LDAP jmeter script and published on Github, just to say that OpenDJ has it is own tool, and Tsung can also test LDAP server.

I have been working with my brother to change the PBKDF2 implementation so it is almost similar to Crowd and ApacheDS differing for the printing format of the iterations.

Enjoy using OpenDJ !

Thoughts on adding javascript without conflicting with web designer

For some project I included Jquery animations in web sites. There are many Jquery scripts on Internet but, of course, not all of them satisfy your requirements.

When creating the animation, the first thing I do is choosing the script animation that can be useful as basis, creating a sort of demo and start to understand the code in order to be changed.

What I don’t see in several scripts is the absence of thinking for web designers, I mean people that know only CSS and html and they are interested on how to modify the classes name or id because they already exist in the website. Usually indeed the names or id have prefix but these variables are spread around the code, instead of being written once.

So I started to use some template system like Dust.js (which has been adopted by Linkedin) or Hogan (adopted by Twitter) to bring the html code and classes/id inside the html and not keeping them in javascript files. For the rest I give the possibility to pass as parameters classes/id to the Jquery script so they can be modified from design point of view.

Still this means that classes and id are duplicated once in the code and once as parameters in the javascript, there must be  a way to reduce the impact. Somebody proposes to use different classes for the style and for the javascript, somebody else uses data-attributes for the javascript which have been introduced by HTML 5 (which seem to be less performant as selectors moreover on IE, see Jsperf comparison and this article).

If I have to introduce some javascript in a website HTML 4 compliant then I would certainly go for 2 classes so the css designer doesn’t touch those for the javascript, even though we still create redundancy.

If have to work with HTML 5, I still don’t know if using data-attributes it is a good idea. In I can see that Internet Explorer 11 doesn’t fully support data attributes and Internet Explorer is still a big player in the browser puzzle, on the other side:

  • Jquery 2.0, which provide support from IE9 onward (major media queries are supported by IE9), has .data or .attr functions.
  • Further there are framework like AngularJS that make use of data attributes, working per injection without add/repeating any css/id which make me think that I should start to explore it since recently they start to make use of animations.

The problem more over is that you start from a built in CMS so adding a javascript which uses the current classes/id is easier that touching the html generated.

Confluence Jmeter performance script

Recently for a project we needed to measure the performance of an instance of Confluence for a certain number of concurrent users.

Fortunately Atlassian releases a procedure to measure the performance using  Jmeter here. The latest script version we used is 4.2.2 which has been released on 27th of August with Confluence 4.3.1

The script needs some fixes:

  • it doesn’t save the session on the Remote API and then operations like Create Personal Space and Grant View on Personal Space fail to connect because of the rpc token
  • the labels used as tags in Confluence are not the same (we used demonstration and sales)
  • the Browsse User Status operation has an incomplete Response Assertion
  • When deleting  the space, operation that can take some time,  the script doesn’t wait in a loop so it can’t remove some users and also when deleting a space Confluence doesn’t go back to the Dashboard but instead stays on the page

Further I improved the script giving the possibility:

  • to create users from Crowd, using a new command line parameter -Jenable.sso=true, which is false by default
  • to use https in case Confluence is setup with https instead of http, using a new command like parameter -Jconfluence.protocol=https, which is http by default

Therefore, after you download the script (with the resources) , just remember to adapt the Crowd configuration (parameter and that the operation Create User from Crowd expect to have Crowd under the same ip address of Confluence (you can of course change it).