Hierarchically organized directory systems like DNS and
LDAP/X.500 identify an object by the path from the root to a leave in
the directory tree.
The "Absolute Distinguished Name" is the full
path from the root to the leaf, which gives a globally unique identification
of this individual. The "Relative Distinguished Name" is part of the full
Note that in the example above, there might be
another "John Smith" in another company called "Good Burgers" in the English
city "London", so a Relative Distinguished Name is not necessarily globally
unique. A "Distinguished Name" is the single main name of an organization,
it may have other alias names.