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People and users

When a user logs in, Alfresco Content Services validates the user’s identifier and password. It uses the identifier to look up the appropriate person details for the user, using the userName property on the Person type. You can configure this look-up to be case sensitive or case insensitive. The userName property on the matching Person node is used as the actual user authority; it might differ in case from the user identifier presented to the authentication system. After the Person node look-up, Alfresco Content Services is case sensitive when matching authorities to permissions, group membership, roles, and for all other authorization tests.

Any user, who authenticates by any mechanism, must have an associated person node. Person nodes can be:

  • Explicitly created
  • Created on demand with some default entries
  • Created from LDAP synchronization

Person nodes are explicitly created when using Alfresco Share to manage users.

By default, person nodes are auto-created if not present. If an external authentication system is configured, when any user authenticates, an appropriate person node might not exist. If a person node does not exist and auto-creation is enabled, a person node will then be created using the identifier exactly as presented by the user and validated by the authentication system. The auto-created Person node’s userName will have the same case as typed by the user. LDAP synchronization will create person nodes with the userName, as provided from the LDAP server.

It is possible that LDAP synchronization can change the userName associated with a Person node. This can happen with a system that uses LDAP synchronization, or a system that creates person nodes on demand, or uses case-insensitive authentication. For example, Andy could log in as “Andy” and the associated Person node is created with the userName “Andy.” Later, the LDAP synchronization runs and changes the userName to “andy”.

Changes to Person node userNames will cause updates to other related data, such as ACL assignment.

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