On Sep 28, 2006, at 9:35 PM, Tom Lane wrote:

"Joshua D. Drake" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
Is there any reason why we haven't built a generic authentication API?
Something like PAM, except cross platform?

We're database geeks, not security/crypto/authentication geeks.  What
makes you think we have any particular competence to do the above?

Actually, the part of this proposal that raised my hackles the most was
the claim that GSSAPI provides a generic auth API, because that was
exactly the bill of goods we were sold in connection with PAM. (So why
is this our problem at all --- can't you make a PAM plugin for it??)
It didn't help any that that was shortly followed by the lame admission that no one has ever implemented anything except Kerberos underneath it.
Word to the wise, guys: go *real* soft on vaporware claims for auth
stuff, because we've seen enough of those before.

Well, that's why I was pushing SASL instead of GSSAPI. There are multiple mechanisms that are actually in use.

PAM turned out not to be sufficiently specified for cross-platform behavioral compatibility, and it only does password checking anyway. Calling it a security solution is a big overstatement IMO. I guess a lot of people use PAM with SSL and don't worry about the gap between the two (which SASL or GSSAPI close).

In defense of GSSAPI non-Kerberos mechanisms do exist. They just cost money and they aren't very cross-platform. AFAIK GSSAPI has no simple password mechanisms.

There's a Microsoft-compatible SPNEGO mechanism for GSSAPI that's being implemented fairly widely now, but it's just a sub-negotiation mech that lets you choose between a Kerberos 5 (that's practically identical to the direct one), and NTLM. If you allow NTLM you'd better limit it to NTLMv2!

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----
The opinions expressed in this message are mine,
not those of Caltech, JPL, NASA, or the US Government.

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