I am following the instructions on https://www.openldap.org/doc/admin24/quickstart.html to install OpenLDAP on RedHat. Everything goes fine until step 9:

Import the configuration database You are now ready to import your configration database for use by slapd(8), by running the command:

su root -c /usr/local/sbin/slapadd -n 0 -F /usr/local/etc/slapd.d -l /usr 

Then I get the error: su: invalid option -- 'n' Then I tried only running /usr/local/sbin/slapadd -n 0 -F /usr/local/etc/slapd.d -l /usr/local/etc/openldap/slapd.ldif since I already logged in as the root user, then I get this error:

 5bcca422 invalid config directory /usr/local/etc/slapd.d, error 2
 slapadd: bad configuration directory! 

My installation prefix is the default /usr/local/

I find there is no slapd.d under /usr/local/etc directory. What's the problem? Thanks!

Additional Information: When I ranmake in step 5, I got an error: fatal error:ltdl.h: No such file or directory, then I installed it with yum install libtool-ltdl-devel, and repeated step 5. When I ran make test in step 6, there is no error. I don't know if this piece of additional information could help.

  • RHEL already includes OpenLDAP packages. Is there a reason you are rebuilding them from source code? Oct 21, 2018 at 16:34
  • @Michael Hampton Oh...I don't know that it is already in RHEL...I find slapd.d at /etc/openldap...
    – zero_yu
    Oct 21, 2018 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


The default location of configuration files is specified as build configuration option --sysconfdir. The default depends on value used for --prefix.

$ ./configure --help
  --sysconfdir=DIR        read-only single-machine data [PREFIX/etc]

So what's actually used in your case depends on the build configuration.

When starting slapd you can also specify the configuration to be used with command-line options -f for static config or -F for directory holding the dynamic config. This is very handy for using a local test-bed config or to stay away completely from what OS packages mess around during package installation.

The man-page slapd(8) locally installed on your system will show you the actual default values of your build. Bear in mind that man-pages provided by OS packages are different from your local builds from source.

Also I'd recommend not to use the RHEL/CentOS packages. You should use pre-built RPMs provided by LDAP Toolbox project. They use build option --prefix=/usr/local/openldap and therefore dynamic config DB would be in default location /usr/local/openldap/etc/openldap/slapd.d/.

See also: slapd(8)

  • Thanks. My prefix is by default /usr/local/, but I did not see slapd.d there.
    – zero_yu
    Oct 22, 2018 at 20:20
  • configure --prefix=/usr/local would result in /usr/local/etc/openldap/slapd.d/ being used by default. As said in my answer: Consult the slapd(8) man-page of your local installation. Oct 22, 2018 at 20:22
  • I tried the command find usr/ -name "slapd.d", there is no slapd.d under usr/ or its subdirectories. However, I found sldap.d under /etc/openldap/. I doubt there is created by the installation of OpenLDAP I downloaded from the official site. Can I use this sldap.d in the command to import the configuration database?
    – zero_yu
    Oct 22, 2018 at 20:37
  • I don't know what happened on your system so far. So I can't tell which path is right. Please make sure to restart from a clean system using well-defined build options or install packages for your OS. Otherwise your results will be unpredictable. Oct 22, 2018 at 20:40

To avoid su: invalid option -- 'n' error, you can put quotes as the below:

su root -c '/usr/local/sbin/slapadd -n 0 -F /usr/local/etc/slapd.d -l /usr 

Notice that I have put the part after -c inside the quotes.

As far as slapd.d is concerned, creating the directory helped me:

sudo mkdir /usr/local/etc/slapd.d

The cli will promptly ask for password. After that, this is what looks like on my console,

_#################### 100.00% eta   none elapsed            none fast!

Maybe you can try:mkdir /usr/local/etc/slapd.d


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