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Data management changes in Citadel 7

There are two important data management changes starting with Citadel 7.60.

The first one is a big change to how Citadel uses LDAP. You might know that prior to Citadel 7.50, we had the ability to populate an external LDAP address book with the contents of Citadel's global address book. As it turned out, this was not very useful. It was deprecated in 7.50 and has been removed in 7.60. We were fairly certain that nobody was using this feature, and the fact that no one has complained about its deprecation seems to confirm this.

Instead, Citadel 7.60 has the ability to authenticate against an external LDAP directory, which seems to be what most people wanted in the first place. We've supported authentication via the host system for a long time, and in practice most sites seem to combine this with pam_ldap and nss_ldap to allow Citadel to participate in “single sign on” at organizations which use LDAP. So why not make it easy? Citadel 7.60 speaks directly to your LDAP server, and the configuration consists of entering a few simple configuration items instead of all that tedious mucking about in the /etc directory. We support both the industry-standard LDAP schema (RFC 2307) and the most commonly deployed nonstandard schema (Microsoft Active Directory).

The other big change is a complete rewrite of the import/export module. The old way was usable but fairly clumsy. In Citadel 7.60, the database dump format is XML based, and the import/export operations run much faster. And beginning now, we are making the dump format upward compatible, so the target system can be running a newer version of Citadel than the source system. You will not have to upgrade the source system in order to migrate it.

To make this even more useful, we've written an “over the wire” migration utility. When you want to migrate Citadel to a new host system, even one with a different CPU architecture, you just run the migrate utility on the target host, and point it at the source host. The migrate utility will do all of the work for you automatically, producing a perfect clone of your Citadel installation. OpenSSH and rsync are used to copy the parts of your Citadel data that are not stored in the database, such as user profiles (bios), photos and other images, etc. This utility will do for migrations what Easy Install did for installations.

These changes were frequently requested, and we are happy to announce that they are now available.

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