pGina -- Alternative Active directory solution

I have just come across pGina, this is an alternative replacement for Active directories authentication, which can be used with MySQL or LDAP.

I am wondering if anybody has used pGina and if anybody has any thoughts about using similar non Samba / Active directory based alternatives?

The project is hosted at

I’ve seen that website in the past.

Well, I’m not a Windows admin, but my first thought is about the software availability on every Windows workstation. As any other third-party software it must be installed everywhere: isn’t that a problem on large networks?

Perhaps our BGLug friends have a bit of expertise to share… /cc @syntaxerrormmm

No, not really, but may be interesting anyways.

I’m quite skeptic about the replaceability of AD in Small/Medium Businesses (and sometimes also on large enterprises) when it comes to deal with Windows clients. If the enterprise already runs *nix desktops (or has a strong commitment to go that way, Linux or macOS) or has browser-based OS (cloud, Webtop, etc.) we may talk about different transitional approaches away from AD (LDAP + NFS + CUPS, for example). But if the users are not migrating away from MS on the client side, I think nothing will beat MS itself at integrating features (SSO, shared folders and printers, group policies, security groups for instance).

Or you may try NethServer 7 with SMB4 and native AD :wink: which to me is one of the (little) alternatives for Enterprise environments that are eligible to be evaluated at least on a technical point of view (just to make some names, if I was allowed to spend money, I would re-evaluate also ClearOS, UCS and Zentyal in this order). But NS Community is free and does its work pretty well, so it would be my first choice (and maybe NS Enterprise as second one).


I never heard of it before but I think the same as @syntaxerrormmm
If you have a (almost) Microsoft-Only environment, nothing beats Microsoft/AD.
And even if you mix it up with Linux, the “AD” can also provide LDAP support.

BUT we are talking about Nethserver as a replacement for, maybe all, servers. That also means: No Active Directory Server. This is for sure only for small or maybe small-mid environments I think, but this is also the target of Nethserver.
In that case it is something it can be used for. But only if you see the authentication.
Don’t start to talk about other stuff like GPOs etc. - But if you only if Home-Versions of Windows because your boss wants to save a dollar per PC, than this may be a good alternative.

My personal result in this is, that it can be useful but has also much limits compared to Microsoft Solutions. It has to be well thought if it should be used or not. It may be an alternative in very “crappy” environments with lots of Home-Versions of Windows if you need central administration of passwords anyway.

This makes me think about @fasttech, who manages a mixed network IIRC!

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I don’t know the project, but when I hear gina, I get flashbacks to Novell Directory Services.

This thread has brought up some interesting perspectives on alternatives to Active directories.

I almost forgot about Novell services, some of my first employment roles (after leaving college – back throughout the 1990s) were to manage / administrate both Bind and NDS / eDirectory based network environments.

Interesting point, are you saying that Samba4 is competitive only when it comes to small installations?

In general: Absolutly not. But usually in large environments you don’t change such implementations from one day to the other. So it must be well thought if this is a 100% replacement for all requirements you already have. And this don’t depend on the size of the environment.
But, as you know, I am a Microsoft Guy, using Microsoft Systems and Microsoft Solutions in environments with mostly Microsoft Servers and Clients. For that kind of enviroments it don’t make sense to use something else then the Active Directory.


Unfortunately I am too, for most of the time. So that’s why we share the same point of view.

That’s the basic point of it: if you want to replace AD, you need to be absolutely sure to cover all features it has, because it is huge and deeply rooted within Windows client systems.

Working via web interfaces may be a big dealbreaker in this scenario. Unfortunately online FOSS office productivity suites are now too young (to my personal understandings) to be used in productive environments with a lot of requirements on the systemistic aspect. Working, but tremendously hard to implement (take for example Open365, which has been opensourced to run within containers: for someone which doesn’t have a working knowledge of containers this may be a lot of work).


Hi, you should checkout! pgina was good for many years, the project sleeps for years, many unsolved problems with win10 and not stable enough for prfessional usage. comtarsia allows a good integration of windows and linux systems into a ldap managed network. freeipa, openldap or AD without joining only via ldap bind!! server 2016 rdp, smart card authentification user synchronization works as well. the documentation is not very good, but the comtarsia support is very good and free. our comany configuration profile was created by comtarsia.

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