Hi all,

This is the continuation to the discussion that we had in the hacker's list.

Here, I like to add some details in 20.2.6. PAM authentication section.

Can someone review and make changes, if required? Thanks.

*** client-auth.sgml.orig       Tue Aug 21 16:52:45 2007
--- client-auth.sgml    Tue Aug 21 17:02:52 2007
*** 987,992 ****
--- 987,1001 ----
     and the <ulink url="http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/pam/";>
     <systemitem class="osname">Solaris</> PAM Page</ulink>.
+    <note>
+     <para>
+      The local UNIX user authentication is not permitted,
+      because the postgres server is started by a non-root user.
+      In order to enable this functionality, the root user must provide
+ additional permissions to the postgres user (for reading /etc/shadow file).
+     </para>
+    </note>

Zdenek Kotala wrote:

The problem what Dhanaraj tries to address is how to secure solve problem with PAM and local user. Other servers (e.g. sshd) allow to run master under root (with limited privileges) and forked process under normal user. But postgresql
requires start as non-root user. It limits to used common pattern.

There is important question:

Is current requirement to run postgresql under non-root OK? If yes, than we must update PAM documentation to explain this situation which will never works secure. Or if we say No, it is stupid limitation (in case when UID 0 says nothing about user's privileges) then we must start discussion about solution.

For now I think we should update the docs. You really can't compare postgres with sshd - ssh connections are in effect autonomous. I suspect the changes involved in allowing us to run as root and then give up privileges safely would be huge, and the gain quite small.

I'd rather see an HBA fallback mechanism, which I suspect might overcome most of the problems being encountered here.



Dhanaraj M
Solaris RPE, Bangalore, India

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