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GUI to ldap administration

Dear all,

with the release of Debian Edu lenny 5.0.4+edu0 and the forthcoming
release of Debian Edu lenny 5.0.4+edu1 development of Debian Edu
Squeeze is brought more and more into focus.

I would like to mention and stress the importance of a graphical user
interface to ldap as essential and very important component of the
DebianEdu/Skolelinux distribution. In my impression this component
seems to be rather disregarded at the moment. "Subprojects", regional
or local groups try to address the problem with alternative tools that  
allow teachers short in time the easy administration of users, groups,
machines or even more.      

Currently we provide lwat as very simple but also very limited
GU-interface to ldap. The last upload to Debian happened almost two
years ago on 2008-03-28, and upstream (in)activity is comparable. A
lot of wishlist bugs have been filed, patches almost trivially to
include are in the Debian BTS since ages. To me, it seems as if there
are no resources left to ensure a minimum of maintenance, not to talk
about further development and general improvements. 

I consider the administration of the ldap tree as core component of
our system. Here, the teacher and very limited part-time admin closely
interacts with the system, here he decides to take the burden of being
the person responsible for it. If I look at the lwat login screen now,
it welcomes me with typos in the text and a copyright notice from
2007; all in all not very encouraging.      

I think we need either to reactivate development and maintenance of
lwat and manage to ensure this in the long term, or we need to
find alternatives, evaluate these and decide to support a solution
with active and reliable upstream. Without any further analysis I
heard about gosa, CipUX, perhaps webmin can be repackaged [1] or
phpLDAPadmin extended, ... no idea. 

What are your opinions with regard to this situation? Any suggestions
and ideas how to improve it?    

However, it should be clear that we will have no chance to be
competitive if we do not care.


[1] It seems to be removed because nobody cared: 
    from a first glance it seems to be actively developed. 

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