Network administrators frequently use the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) to implement a centralized directory server. You can use LDAP to authenticate users in Apache. Two popular open source LDAP solutions are OpenLDAP and Red Hat Directory Server. According to the Apache documentation, Novell LDAP and iPlanet Directory Server are also supported. This article focuses on OpenLDAP, but the concepts and examples should be applicable to the others.
Finally, someone spends time to work with a Linux server and OS X authentication issue:
OSX has what I would call an undocumented feature of the operating system- the portable home directory. Basically, it keeps a user's home directory sync'd up between a network share and the local pc. If you are not on the network you work on the local home directory. Whenever you login on the network, the mirror agent running on the local pc synchronizes the two directories.