Pluggable Authentication Modules: The Definitive Guide to PAM for Linux SysAdmins and C Developers

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  • Using PAM services for authentication in applications
  • Using PAM modules common to various operating systems (pam_mkhomedir, pam_mount, pam_succeed_if, pam_nologin, pam_wheel, pam_access, pam_deny, pam_unix, pam_winbind, pam_ldap, pam_mysql)
  • Testing and debugging your PAM configuration
  • Using PAM and Winbind for integrating any Linux/UNIX computer with Microsoft Active Directory
  • Developing your own PAM module in C

PAM-aware applications reduce the complexity of authentication. With PAM you can use the same user database for every login process. PAM also supports different authentication processes as required. Moreover, PAM is a well-defined API, and PAM-aware applications will not break if you change the underlying authentication configuration.

The PAM framework is widely used by most Linux distributions for authentication purposes. Originating from Solaris 2.6 ten years ago, PAM is used today by most proprietary and free UNIX operating systems including GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris, following both the design concept and the practical details. PAM is thus a unifying technology for authentication mechanisms in UNIX.

PAM is a modular and flexible authentication management layer that sits between Linux applications and the native underlying authentication system. PAM can be implemented with various applications without having to recompile the applications to specifically support PAM.

  • Understand and configure PAM
  • Develop PAM-aware applications and your own PAMs using the API and C
  • How to authenticate users in Active Directory, mount encrypted home directories, load SSH keys automatically, and restrict web and rsh services
Page Count 124
Course Length 3 hours 43 minutes
ISBN 9781904811329
Date Of Publication 15 Jan 2007


Kenneth Geisshirt

Kenneth Geisshirt is a chemist, by education, and a strong free-software advocate. He spent his Christmas holidays in 1992 installing SLS Linux, and GNU/Linux has been his favorite operating system ever since. Currently, he does consultancy work in fields such as scientific computing and Linux clusters. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with his partner and their two children.

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