Likewise Open - Join Linux to the Active Directory Domain

Post date: Jan 22, 2013 10:48:29 PM

Likewise Open simplifies the necessary configuration needed to authenticate a Linux machine to an Active Directory domain. Based on winbind, the likewise-open package takes the pain out of integrating Ubuntu authentication into an existing Windows network.


There are two ways to use Likewise Open, likewise-open the command line utility and likewise-open-gui. This section focuses on the command line utility.

To install the likewise-open package, open a terminal prompt and enter:

sudo apt-get install likewise-open

Joining a Domain

The main executable file of the likewise-open package is /usr/bin/domainjoin-cli, which is used to join your computer to the domain. Before you join a domain you will need to make sure you have:

    • Access to an Active Directory user with appropriate rights to join the domain.

    • The Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the domain you want to join. If your AD domain does not match a valid domain such as, it is likely that it has the form of domainname.local.

    • DNS for the domain setup properly. In a production AD environment this should be the case. Proper Microsoft DNS is needed so that client workstations can determine the Active Directory domain is available.

To join a domain, from a terminal prompt enter:

sudo domainjoin-cli join Administrator

Replace with your domain name, and Administrator with the appropriate user name.

You will then be prompted for the user's password. If all goes well a SUCCESS message should be printed to the console.

After joining the domain, it is necessary to reboot before attempting to authenticate against the domain.

After successfully joining an Ubuntu machine to an Active Directory domain you can authenticate using any valid AD user. To login you will need to enter the user name as 'domain\username'. For example to ssh to a server joined to the domain enter:

ssh 'example\steve'@hostname

If configuring a Desktop the user name will need to be prefixed with domain\ in the graphical logon as well.

To make likewise-open use a default domain, you can add the following statement to /etc/samba/lwiauthd.conf:

winbind use default domain = yes

Then restart the likewise-open daemons:

sudo /etc/init.d/likewise-open restart

Once configured for a default domain the 'domain\' is no longer required, users can login using only their username.

The domainjoin-cli utility can also be used to leave the domain. From a terminal:

sudo domainjoin-cli leave

Other Utilities

The likewise-open package comes with a few other utilities that may be useful for gathering information about the Active Directory environment. These utilities are used to join the machine to the domain, and are the same as those available in thesamba-common and winbind packages:

    • lwinet: Returns information about the network and the domain.

    • lwimsg: Allows interaction with the likewise-winbindd daemon.

    • lwiinfo: Displays information about various parts of the Domain.

Please refer to each utility's man page specific for details.


    • If the client has trouble joining the domain, double check that the Microsoft DNS is listed first in /etc/resolv.conf. For example:

      • nameserver

    • For more information when joining a domain, use the --loglevel verbose or --advanced option of the domainjoin-cliutility:

      • sudo domainjoin-cli --loglevel verbose join Administrator

    • If an Active Directory user has trouble logging in, check the /var/log/auth.log for details.

    • When joining an Ubuntu Desktop workstation to a domain, you may need to edit /etc/nsswitch.conf if your AD domain uses the .local syntax. In order to join the domain the "mdns4" entry should be removed from the hosts option. For example:

      • hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

      • Change the above to:

      • hosts: files dns [NOTFOUND=return]

      • Then restart networking by entering:

      • sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

      • You should now be able to join the Active Directory domain.

Microsoft DNS

The following are instructions for installing DNS on an Active Directory domain controller running Windows Server 2003, but the instructions should be similar for other versions:

    • Click StartAdministrative ToolsManage Your Server. This will open the Server Role Mangement utility.

          1. Click Add or remove a role

          2. Click Next

          3. Select "DNS Server"

          4. Click Next

          5. Click Next again to proceed

          6. Select "Create a forward lookup zone" if it is not selected.

          7. Click Next

          8. Make sure "This server maintains the zone" is selected and click Next.

          9. Enter your domain name and click Next

          10. Click Next to "Allow only secure dynamic updates"

          11. Enter the IP for DNS servers to forward queries to, or Select "No, it should not forward queries" and click Next.

          12. Click Finish

          13. Click Finish

      • DNS is now installed and can be further configured using the Microsoft Management Console DNS snap-in.

    • Next, configure the Server to use itself for DNS queries:

          1. Click Start

          2. Control Panel

          3. Network Connections

          4. Right Click "Local Area Connection"

          5. Click Properties

          6. Double click "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)"

          7. Enter the Server's IP Address as the "Preferred DNS server"

          8. Click Ok

          9. Click Ok again to save the settings


Please refer to the Likewise home page for further information.

For more domainjoin-cli options see the man page: man domainjoin-cli.

Also, see the Ubuntu Wiki LikewiseOpen page.