Shelldap(1) A program for interacting with an LDAP server via a shell-like interface


Shelldap /LDAP::Shell is a program for interacting with an LDAP server via a shell-like interface.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive LDAP editing and browsing interface, but rather an intuitive shell for performing basic LDAP tasks quickly and with minimal effort.


 shelldap --server [--help]


 - Upon successful authenticated binding, credential information is
   auto-cached to ~/.shelldap.rc -- future loads require no command line
 - Custom 'description maps' for entry listings.  (See the 'list' command.)
 - History and autocomplete via readline, if installed.
 - Automatic reconnection attempts if the connection is lost with the
   LDAP server.
 - Basic schema introspection for quick reference.
 - It feels like a semi-crippled shell, making LDAP browsing and editing
   at least halfway pleasurable.


All command line options follow getopts long conventions.

    shelldap --server --basedn dc=your,o=company

You may also optionally create a ~/.shelldap.rc file with command line defaults. This file should be valid YAML. (This file is generated automatically on a successful bind auth.)


    binddn: cn=Manager,dc=your,o=company
    bindpass: xxxxxxxxx
    basedn: dc=your,o=company
    tls: yes
    tls_cacert: /etc/ssl/certs/cacert.pem
    tls_cert:   ~/.ssl/client.cert.pem 
    tls_key:    ~/.ssl/private/client.key.pem
Optional. Use an alternate configuration file, instead of the default ~/.shelldap.rc.

    --configfile /tmp/alternate-config.yml
    -f /tmp/alternate-config.yml

This config file overrides values found in the default config, so you can easily have separate config files for connecting to your cn=monitor or cn=log overlays (for example.)

Required. The LDAP server to connect to. This can be a hostname, IP address, or a URI.

    --server ldaps://
    -H ldaps://
The full dn of a user to authenticate as. If not specified, defaults to an anonymous bind. You will be prompted for a password.

    --binddn cn=Manager,dc=your,o=company
    -D cn=Manager,dc=your,o=company
The directory 'root' of your LDAP server. If omitted, shelldap will try and ask the server for a sane default.

    --basedn dc=your,o=company
    -b dc=your,o=company
Force password prompting. Useful to temporarily override cached credentials.
A space separated list of SASL mechanisms. Requires the Authen::SASL module.

    --sasl "PLAIN CRAM-MD5 GSSAPI"
Enables TLS over what would normally be an insecure connection. Requires server side support.
Specify CA Certificate to trust.

    --tls_cacert /etc/ssl/certs/cacert.pem
The TLS client certificate.

    --tls_cert ~/.ssl/client.cert.pem
The TLS client key. Not specifying a key will connect via TLS without key verification.

    --tls_key ~/.ssl/private/client.key.pem
Set the time to cache directory lookups in seconds.

By default, directory lookups are cached for 300 seconds, to speed autocomplete up when changing between different basedns.

Modifications to the directory automatically reset the cache. Directory listings are not cached. (This is just used for autocomplete.) Set it to 0 to disable caching completely.

Set the maximum time an LDAP operation can take before it is cancelled.
Print extra operational info out, and backtrace on fatal error.
Display the version number.


Display an LDIF dump of an entry. Globbing is supported. Specify either the full dn, or an rdn. For most commands, rdns are local to the current search base. ('cwd', as translated to shell speak.) You may additionally add a list of attributes to display. Use '+' for server side attributes.

    cat uid=mahlon
    cat ou=*
    cat uid=mahlon,ou=People,dc=example,o=company
    cat uid=mahlon + userPassword
Like cat, but uses the configured pager to display output.
Change directory. Translated to LDAP, this changes the current basedn. All commands after a 'cd' operate within the new basedn.

    cd                  change to 'home' basedn
    cd ~                change to the binddn, or basedn if anonymously bound
    cd -                change to previous node
    cd ou=People        change to explicit path below current node
    cd ..               change to parent node
    cd ../../ou=Groups  change to node ou=Groups, which is a sibling
                        to the current node's grandparent

Since LDAP doesn't actually limit what can be a container object, you can actually cd into any entry. Many commands then work on '.', meaning ``wherever I currently am.''

    cd uid=mahlon
    cat .
Clear the screen.
Copy an entry to a different dn path. All copies are relative to the current basedn, unless a full dn is specified. All attributes are copied, then an LDAP moddn() is performed.

    copy uid=mahlon uid=bob
    copy uid=mahlon ou=Others,dc=example,o=company
    copy uid=mahlon,ou=People,dc=example,o=company uid=mahlon,ou=Others,dc=example,o=company

aliased to: cp

Create an entry from scratch. Arguments are space separated objectClass names. Possible objectClasses are derived automatically from the server, and will tab-complete.

After the classes are specified, an editor will launch. Required attributes are listed first, then optional attributes. Optionals are commented out. After the editor exits, the resulting LDIF is validated and added to the LDAP directory.

    create top person organizationalPerson inetOrgPerson posixAccount

aliased to: touch

Remove an entry from the directory. Globbing is supported. All deletes are sanity-prompted. The -v flag prints the entries out for review before delete.

    delete uid=mahlon
    delete uid=ma*
    rm -v uid=mahlon,ou=People,dc=example,o=company l=office

aliased to: rm

Edit an entry in an external editor. After the editor exits, the resulting LDIF is sanity checked, and changes are written to the LDAP directory.

    edit uid=mahlon

aliased to: vi

 Show values for various runtime variables.
Search for arbitrary LDAP filters, and return matching dn results. The search string must be a valid LDAP filter.

    grep uid=mahlon
    grep uid=mahlon ou=People
    grep -r (&(uid=mahlon)(objectClass=*))
 aliased to: search
View schema information about a given entry, or a list of arbitrary objectClasses, along with the most common flags for the objectClass attributes.

    inspect uid=mahlon
    inspect posixAccount organizationalUnit
    inspect _schema

The output is a list of found objectClasses, their schema hierarchy (up to 'top'), whether or not they are a structural class, and then a merged list of all valid attributes for the given objectClasses. Attributes are marked as either required or optional, and whether they allow multiple values or not.

If you ask for the special ``_schema'' object, the raw server schema is dumped to screen.

List entries for the current basedn. Globbing is supported.

aliased to: ls

    ls -l
    ls -lR uid=mahlon
    list uid=m*

In 'long' mode, descriptions are listed as well, if they exist. There are some default 'long listing' mappings for common objectClass types. You can additionally specify your own mappings in your .shelldap.rc, like so:

        objectClass: attributename
        posixAccount: gecos
        posixGroup: gidNumber
        ipHost: ipHostNumber
Creates a new 'organizationalUnit' entry.

    mkdir containername
    mkdir ou=whatever
Move an entry to a different dn path. Usage is identical to copy.

aliased to: mv

If supported server side, change the password for a specified entry. The entry must have a 'userPassword' attribute.

    passwd uid=mahlon
Print the 'working directory' - aka, the current ldap basedn.
Modify various runtime variables normally set from the command line.

    setenv debug 1
    export debug=1
Show current auth credentials. Unless you specified a binddn, this will just show an anonymous bind.

aliased to: id


Referral support. Currently, if you try to write to a replicant slave, you'll just get a referral. It would be nice if shelldap automatically tried to follow it.

For now, it only makes sense to connect to a master if you plan on doing any writes.


There is no support for editing binary data. If you need to edit base64 stuff, just feed it to the regular ldapmodify/ldapadd/etc tools.


Mahlon E. Smith <[email protected]>