Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003 Networks Associates Technology, Inc.
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This article was written for the FreeBSD Project by ThinkSec AS and Network Associates Laboratories, the Security Research Division of Network Associates, Inc. under DARPA/SPAWAR contract N66001-01-C-8035 (“CBOSS”), as part of the DARPA CHATS research program.
FreeBSD is a registered trademark of the FreeBSD Foundation.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
Motif, OSF/1, and UNIX are registered trademarks and IT DialTone and The Open Group are trademarks of The Open Group in the United States and other countries.
Sun, Sun Microsystems, Java, Java Virtual Machine, JavaServer Pages, JDK, JSP, JVM, Netra, Solaris, StarOffice, Sun Blade, Sun Enterprise, Sun Fire, SunOS, and Ultra are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this document, and the FreeBSD Project was aware of the trademark claim, the designations have been followed by the “™” or the “®” symbol.
The Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) library is a generalized API for authentication-related services which allows a system administrator to add new authentication methods simply by installing new PAM modules, and to modify authentication policies by editing configuration files.
PAM was defined and developed in 1995 by Vipin Samar and Charlie Lai of Sun Microsystems, and has not changed much since. In 1997, the Open Group published the X/Open Single Sign-on (XSSO) preliminary specification, which standardized the PAM API and added extensions for single (or rather integrated) sign-on. At the time of this writing, this specification has not yet been adopted as a standard.
Although this article focuses primarily on FreeBSD 5.x, which uses OpenPAM, it should be equally applicable to FreeBSD 4.x, which uses Linux-PAM, and other operating systems such as Linux and Solaris™.
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