Some offices and educational institutions run multiple operating systems within the same premises. For example, the physics lab in a university might prefer using Linux based operating systems whereas, the library might have Windows based systems as they are more widely used. Managing users and computers under separate servers can fragment resources and reduce their utility. As it is far better running one central server via a single machine, instead of making multiple servers. The latter can also be extremely expensive and a waste of valuable resources. Likewise is an open source software that allows adding Linux, Unix and Mac OS based users to the Active Directory of Windows Server 2003/2008.
Update: Likewise is now known as PowerBroker Identity Services and its free version is called the Open Edition. The download link has been updated.
There are no major requirements for joining a system from an unsupported OS to the Windows Domain via this application. Simply install Likewise on your unsupported client operating system and join it to the Windows Domain.
While joining a client OS to the Domain you can specify the Domain name or the OU (Organizational Unit) path. This application also supports Windows Server based group policies and your client systems (even from unsupported operating systems) will be adjusted to Windows Server based Group policies, such as the password complexity requirement. Some other features of this software are as follows:
- It Authenticates users with a single username and password.
- Caches credentials which allow the client computer to remain functional in the wake of network connectivity issues.
- Supports Kerberos.
- No changes required to AD for using this application
- Let you specify a home directory and shell for users.
Likewise is an excellent tool for implementing Domain policies and management via the Active Directory for non Windows based operating systems and can save organizations a significant amount of money by implementing policies via a single server. This application was tested on Ubuntu 10.10.