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Accessing operating system's user/password database from Java

Posted on 2004-08-12
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Last Modified: 2010-03-31
I have to write a network server application which mantains a user/password list. I haven't started writing, I am still designing it, but I have thought of Java as, being a server, the more platforms it works on, the better, in addition to the rest of Java benefits. But the application needs to synchronize its user/password list with the the operating system user database. Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server user database synchronization is mandatory, and Windows NT 4 and Linux/Unix/*BSD is also important, but it could be sacrificed, depending on the difficulty, time needed/available and libraries available for it.
My questions are: How do I access the user database of the three operating system families I mentioned above from Java? is there a class or library that does this in a platform-independent way? if not, what are the best libraries for each OS family? or is there a way to do it with the Java API?.
As a last option, I could accept discarding multiplatform support and using C#, just in case .NET libraries have very good support for this, and Java a very bad one.

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Question by:pulupul
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Javatm earned 500 total points
ID: 11788663
Depending on what you need ???

If you have a seperate database engine like MySQL then you can access it through JDBC but if you mean that you have to access it through
plathform specific directly from OS then you need to use JNI and have the other language handle the OS communication and use JNI to
access it and Java for interface.

Some tutorials for it :
http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/native1.1/
http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/jdbc/

Hope that helps . . .
Javatm

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by:Javatm
ID: 11788696
Otherwise there is no other way than to use other language like C++ or C#.

Hope that helps . . .
Javatm
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by:pulupul
ID: 11788777
I don't know if I explained myself correctly. I plan to use no database, unless required by some library. What I am asking is how to acces the internal OS user list, the one that in Windows XP/2000 you access by clicking Start->Run and typing lusrmgr.msc, and the one that in Linux is stored in /etc/passwd and /etc/passwd/shadow if using shadowed passwords.
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Expert Comment

by:Javatm
ID: 11788997
Its an OS Specific part you can call a batch file from java or to run the lusrmgr.msc but for handling it, you have to use certain libraries which can
be done by other language and access it using JNI and use Java as an interface. Other solution would be using other language for direct access
to the OS like C++ or C# as what I said earlier.

Hope that helps . . .
Javat,
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by:pulupul
ID: 11789043
Ok, thanks for the JNI info. I want to clarify that what I want is not to run lusrmgr.msc, but to programatically access the user database that lusrmgr.msc shows.
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by:Javatm
ID: 11789519
> I want to clarify that what I want is not to run lusrmgr.msc, but to programatically access the user database that lusrmgr.msc shows.

We can run and show lusrmgr.msc in java but to programatically access and use it is not possible unless you use JNI and other language
to programatically use it.
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Expert Comment

by:Javatm
ID: 11789556
So which means to you have to invest your self through JNI and other native language or just use C++ and C#.
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Author Comment

by:pulupul
ID: 11799308
What I need is a library that handles this.
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by:Javatm
ID: 11802920
>  What I need is a library that handles this.

If you have an open library in C or C++ which handles the neccessary task for it then call it JNI and use Java
as an interface to intract w/ it, this is the best way you can do it or else just use the .NET platform.
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by:Javatm
ID: 11802931
Here's another help from borland :
http://bdn.borland.com/article/0,1410,20679,00.html
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by:pulupul
ID: 11803580
Ok, if someone could tell me a library in Java or C/C++ (or C# as a last resort) that does the job, I will be satisfied.
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by:pulupul
ID: 11850785
JNI in conjunction with what I was told here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Programming_Languages/Cplusplus/Q_21095702.html, might do the job.
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by:Javatm
ID: 11857725
You have to find a specific library maybe in C or C++ and handle it in JNI and make the calls from it to Java as the interface.
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Author Comment

by:pulupul
ID: 11858957
Sure. From the guidelines:
"If you have given the Expert(s) ample time to respond to your clarification posts" - I have.
"and you have responded to each of their posts providing requested information" - I have.
"or if the answers, after clarification, lack finality or do not completely address the issue presented". This is the case. I was asking for a library or a method to access the OS's user/password list. What Javatm told me was a method to use libraries written in other languages, which is a different thing. In addition, I have the feeling that Javatm wasn't fully understanding what I was saying in my comments.

Anyway, I appreciate the answer. If you guys still think this is a B grader, I have no problem in giving it.
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Author Comment

by:pulupul
ID: 11869165
I think the answer can be useful to someone who in the future asks the same question, and I don't need a refund.
But if you want me to give a B grade, I will give it happily.
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