maX.500 - a Macintosh X.500 Directory Client

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maX.500 version 2.1.1 is now available.
Click here to find out how to get a copy of your very own!


maX.500 (pronounced "max five-hundred") is an Internet online directory client developed at the University of Michigan that uses the LDAP protocol. maX.500 will work with standalone LDAP directory servers and with X.500 directory servers that are front-ended by an LDAP server (most are). Using maX.500 you can search online directories, display entries, and make changes to the entries. maX.500 requires MacOS System 7 or later, MacTCP or Open Transport, and an LDAP server to talk to in order to function.

maX.500 is largely the work of Mark Smith, although it builds on the work of many others, especially Tim Howes. It is a companion application to waX.500 (for Microsoft Windows), and xax500 (for the X Window System). There is also some information on other LDAP clients available.

Table of Contents

Obtaining maX.500

maX.500 is made freely available by the University of Michigan for everyone to use. The latest version is 2.1.1, and it the installer is available here: You may also want to read the Version 2.1.1 Release Notes.

maX.500 relies upon Robert Churchill's fabulous Authentication Manager control panel to support Kerberos authentication. Note that if your site is not using Kerberos authentication in conjunction with an X.500 directory service of its own, you can make full use of maX.500 without installing the Authentication Manager software.

maX.500 can also use the Internet Configuration System for handling URLs.

Mailing Lists and Contact Information

If you would like to join a mailing list where new releases and other interesting information about maX.500 is announced, send e-mail to:

If you find a bug in maX.500, please send a report via e-mail to:
Ideas for new maX.500 features may be sent to the same address.

If you are willing to test new, pre-release versions of maX.500 and can provide speedy, useful feedback, send e-mail to: General comments and questions about maX.500 can be sent to:


A Virtual Tour of maX.500

Here are some screen shots that will give you an idea what maX.500 looks like in action (note that these are from version 2.0.2, not 2.1.1): Note that URLs are stored in entries with labels, and maX.500 only shows the label if it is there. maX.500 relies upon a Web browser to actually retrieve and display resources pointed to by URLs; after clicking on the arrow next to "View Document" in the example screen shot above, a Web browser would be launched or brought to the front and told by maX.500 to display the appropriate document. This is accomplished transparently through the magic of AppleEvents.

Resources for System Administrators and Developers

maX.500 is very customizable for use at a specific site. There is an "Admin Kit" available that contains documentation and tools to help you customize maX.500. There is also a mailing list for system administrators who are using and supporting maX.500 at their site. It is a fairly low traffic list. To join, send e-mail to:

The complete source code to maX.500 is now available. This will be useful to those who want to make serious changes or to anyone who can use some of the code. Please share your changes if you do make any. If you are working with the maX.500 sources, please join the developers list by sending e-mail to:

Why the name "maX.500"?

Many people wonder what the origin of the name "maX.500" is. Originally, we called the application "X.500 Access," but few could deny the boring character of such a name. Eventually, we settled on the name maX.500 (remember to say "max five-hundred") for these reasons: Insisting on the use of a lower-case 'm' at the start of the name has annoyed much of the documentation staff here at U of M, but we have stood firm. Also, many people who don't know better refer to maX.500 as "Mac X.500" or "Mac 500." Now there is no excuse for getting the name wrong!
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