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Configuring Active Directory in Posit Workbench#

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This section is a suggested set of steps that may not be appropriate for your configuration. Therefore, you may have to make changes to the steps below for your specific configuration. This content is not meant to be a step-by-step guide that works across all configurations.

Posit Workbench, formerly RStudio Workbench, can be configured to use Active Directory (AD) as the user authentication service, which allows users to authenticate to Workbench via their AD credentials.

This setup requires the machine with Workbench to be joined to a Windows domain, and it requires configuring PAM to use AD as its identity provider. This configuration allows AD accounts to be used along with local system accounts. Workbench requires the use of local system accounts regardless of the authentication method that is used.

This setup can be configured in many different ways and is typically governed by the systems and services that your organization already has in place.

This document describes the process of integrating Workbench with AD using realmd and sssd. For alternative methods of configuration, refer to the Red Hat and Ubuntu documentation.

For more information on how Workbench works with PAM sessions, refer to the Workbench Administrator Guide.


This article assumes that you have an Active Directory server. In this example, the Windows server is configured with a hostname of

Active Directory configurations outside of Posit products is not supported

Posit does not provide support for Active Directory configurations outside of Posit products.

Server Manager - Local Server Properties window

The hostname of the AD server should be resolvable by all of the servers that you want to join to the Windows domain. For this example, the Linux machine where Workbench is installed should be able to resolve the AD hostname.

$ nslookup

Non-authoritative answer:

You should also have Workbench installed with the default configuration that uses local system accounts.

Join AD domain#

Supported Linux operating systems

The steps outlined below are examples of how to join an Active Directory domain in RHEL/CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 18.04 operating systems. The steps should be similar for other versions of RHEL/CentOS and Ubuntu but may not be identical.

Posit Workbench supports more than the operating systems shown in the examples below. For a full list visit the Posit Platform Support page.

  • Install the LDAP client system dependencies for your Linux distribution:

    $ sudo yum install realmd oddjob oddjob-mkhomedir sssd adcli samba-common \
    samba-common-tools krb5-workstation openldap-clients policycoreutils-python
    $ sudo apt-get install realmd sssd sssd-tools samba-common krb5-user \
    packagekit samba-common-bin samba-libs adcli ntp
  • Use the following realm join command to join the AD domain. In this example, we are using the Administrator user on AD (you will be prompted for the password):

    $ sudo realm join -v -U Administrator
    [... truncated output ...]
    * Successfully enrolled machine in realm
  • Confirm the connection by running the realm list command:

    $ realm list
      type: kerberos
      configured: kerberos-member
      server-software: active-directory
      client-software: sssd
      required-package: sssd-tools
      required-package: sssd
      required-package: libnss-sss
      required-package: libpam-sss
      required-package: adcli
      required-package: samba-common-bin
      login-policy: allow-realm-logins
  • You can use the id and getent commands to verify that the users on the AD domain can be used on the machine with Workbench, for example:

    $ id
    1684800520(group policy creator,
    1684800572(denied rodc password replication,
    $ getent passwd*:1684800500:1684800513:

Information on joining an AD domain with realmd

The process of joining the AD domain with realmd resulted in the following changes to the system:

  1. Joined the domain by creating an account entry for the system in the directory.
  2. Created the /etc/krb5.keytab host keytab file.
  3. Configured the domain in SSSD and restarted the service.
  4. Enabled domain users for the system services in PAM configuration and the /etc/nsswitch.conf file.

If you want to configure these items manually, then refer to the documentation described in the PAM Sessions section of the Workbench Administrator Guide.


The default configuration created by realm uses LDAP ID mapping. For more details on using POSIX attributes such as UIDs and GIDs, refer to the sssd.conf(5) man page or external SSSD documentation.

Configure home directory creation#

By default, users from the AD domain will not have a home directory on the Linux server. Because sessions in Workbench require that the user's home directories are present, we will configure PAM sessions to automatically create the home directories.

  • In the PAM session configuration file located at /etc/pam.d/common-session, locate the line that contains session required, and add the following line immediately below it:

    File: /etc/pam.d/common-session
    session required
    session required skel=/etc/skel/ umask=0022
  • You can test the automatic creation of home directories by switching to an AD user using the su or ssh commands:

    $ su
    Creating directory '/home/'.
    $ ssh -l linux-client

    Customizing the location of home directories for AD users

    By default, home directories will be created in /home.

    To customize the directory location or template, edit the /etc/sssd/sssd.conf file by adding the override_homedir option in the target domain. This is useful when configuring user data in Workbench in a different location (e.g., when working with an NFS server).

    For example, the following configuration can be used in /etc/sssd/sssd.conf to specify a home directory location of /usr/home/{ domain_name }/{ user_name }:

    File: /etc/sssd/sssd.conf
    [... file truncated ...]
    override_homedir = /usr/home/%d/%u

    For additional details on SSSD configuration options, refer to the sssd.conf(5) man page.

Configure PAM profile#

  • Now that the system with Workbench is configured for authentication via AD users, you can copy the login PAM profile for use with Workbench:

    $ cp /etc/pam.d/login /etc/pam.d/rstudio
  • You can test your updated PAM configuration outside of Workbench using the provided pamtester utility:

    $ sudo /usr/lib/rstudio-server/bin/pamtester --verbose
    authenticate acct_mgmt setcred open_session close_session
    pamtester: invoking pam_start(rstudio,, ...)
    pamtester: performing operation - authenticate
    [... truncated output ...]
    pamtester: successfully opened a session
    pamtester: performing operation - close_session
    pamtester: session has successfully been closed

    If a pam_acct_mgmt error is observed with the following output

    pamtester: successfully authenticated
    pamtester: performing operation - acct_mgmt
    pamtester: Permission denied

    Edit the /etc/pam.d/common-account configuration file to remove account checking from the pam_sss module by commenting out the following line:

    [... truncated file ...]
    # account        [default=bad success=ok user_unknown=ignore]

For more information on the pamtester utility, refer to the Testing and Troubleshooting section of the Workbench Administration Guide.

Log in to Workbench#

You should now be able to log into Workbench using Active Directory users.

  • To log in, use the format username@domain for the username and the corresponding password.

    Workbench - Sign into window

Generating Kerberos tickets#

If you installed all of the required dependencies, and a Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC) is available on the Windows domain, then you should have access to generate Kerberos tickets from within sessions in Workbench by using the kinit command.

  • In a terminal, for example, run:

  • You can also run this command from within the Terminal pane in Workbench:

    Example of kinit command running in Workbench Terminal