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1. Introduction

1.1 Synopsis

#include <security/pam_modules.h>

gcc -fPIC -c pam_module-name.c
ld -x --shared -o pam_module-name.so pam_module-name.o -lpam

1.2 Description

Linux-PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules for Linux) is a library that enables the local system administrator to choose how individual applications authenticate users. For an overview of the Linux-PAM library see the Linux-PAM System Administrators' Guide.

A Linux-PAM module is a single executable binary file that can be loaded by the Linux-PAM interface library. This PAM library is configured locally with a system file, /etc/pam.conf, to authenticate a user request via the locally available authentication modules. The modules themselves will usually be located in the directory /usr/lib/security and take the form of dynamically loadable object files (see dlopen(3)). Alternatively, the modules can be statically linked into the Linux-PAM library; this is mostly to allow Linux-PAM to be used on platforms without dynamic linking available, but the two forms can be used together. It is the Linux-PAM interface that is called by an application and it is the responsibility of the library to locate, load and call the appropriate functions in a Linux-PAM-module.

Except for the immediate purpose of interacting with the user (entering a password etc..) the module should never call the application directly. This exception requires a "conversation mechanism" which is documented below.

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