>First off, if you can point me to an easy setup >for ldap on debian/Ubuntu and a simple program >(preferably in Java) that can access a user and >permissions granted to that user that would be >great.
If you've never in your life seen LDAP, then I guess its as easy as doing anything else you've never seen before. In other words, "easy" is a relative term. However, a google search turns up two documents you might find helpful.
As for OpenLDAP, I don't personally like it (and I've used it extensively). However, it's harder to tweak to perfection for a production deployment than it is to set up a simple test. See the above link to set up a quick test server. I prefer fedora directory server, but have never tried to build it on a non-RH-based distro. I know users who *have* built it on gentoo and debian though.
>As a developer, I would like to easily set up my >environment. ldap is not as easy as setting up >users and roles in a database.
If the priority is not to do what is necessarily easier for the developer, but to deploy the right application or service in the right way, then sometimes, as a developer, you must learn things that you don't currently have familiarity with in the interest of using the right tool for the job.
If you set up an ldap server once, then back up your data (a one-command process to dump to an ldif file), then future setups are Mind Numbingly Easy(tm)
If there's more demand for the document you request, perhaps I'll write one myself! Thanks for that input!