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I'm looking for a way to grant new (remote, public) users the possibility to sign up for a new account via a web form, which will grant access to a restricted area of our website, an SVN repository, a Trac system, and a MediaWiki (all hosted on a Linux server).

Currently a new Linux system user account is manually created for each new user, though I realise this isn't ideal from a security (or management/administration) point of view, hence this post.

Can anyone suggest any ways in which this might be done (I realise this is a high-level request. I'm looking for overviews of possible solutions that I can look into, rather than detailed solutions).

We have a PHP list and SQL database in place and if that helps...

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I suggest to use an LDAP server such as OpenLDAP. This is analogous for MS Active Directory for this functionality. It is a very common solution to provide centralized authentication and/or authorization.

  • Set up Subversion server to use Apache and configure it like described here. Or, if you use SSH, configure the machine to use LDAP for local users.
  • Trac offers LDAP authentication using a plugin: LdapPlugin.
  • Likewise for MediaWiki: Extension:LDAP_Authentication.
  • Likewise for application X, Y, Z.
  • Web development for LDAP should not be hard - PHP/Python/Ruby/... and many more bindings exist.

The only tricky part is a good management configuration of your LDAP users.

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