Package:PAM base

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Revision as of 11:06, December 22, 2014 by Mgorny (talk | contribs) (describe how files are generated and the issues with tht)
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PAM base


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Current design

Installed files

Currently the following files are installed by pambase:


The files starting with 'system' prefix are intended to be used by other PAM files. In particular:

  1. system-auth is used whenever user authentication is desired. It is included in PAM files for account manipulation tools (passwd, chsh, ...), authenticated daemons (imap, pop3), xscreensaver (for screen locking) and system-login.
  2. system-login is used whenever login is done. It is currently included only in system-local-login and system-remote-login.
  3. system-local-login is used whenever local system login is performed. It is used by login and display managers.
  4. system-remote-login is used whenever remote system login is performed. It is used by sshd.
  5. system-services is used whenever system daemons are started. It is used by start-stop-daemon and systemd.

How files are generated

The pambase Makefile generates the above files using traditional C preprocessor on top of templates. The preprocessor is provided with defines matching USE flags of choice. The processed files are then installed to user systems.

Problems with the current system

The problems with the current system are:

  1. centralised management of PAM backends,
  2. no easy way for user to modify the configuration files without having to repeatedly handle updates.

In particular, the ability to change authentication backends is very limited. If a new backend is to be supported out-of-the-box, one needs to update the pambase package and add more flags and conditionals to it. There is no sane way of controlling the module use order or adding out-of-tree PAM modules.

If user modifies module configuration, he needs to maintain the modifications while pambase upgrades try to restore configuration file to the original content.