Subject: Re: PAM
To: Andrew Gillham <>
From: Giles Lean <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/29/2002 11:58:05
Andrew Gillham wrote:

> Does anyone have any idea how much of the available PAM code is BSD
> licensed versus GPL or other?

The only implementations of the PAM framework that I know about are
commercial (Sun, HP, ...)  and GPL (Linux).

> e.g. Will it be necessary to implement the basic PAM support from
> scratch?  Will we be able to use a large percentage of PAM modules 
> in a BSD environment without worrying about the GPL?

Framework probably has to be done from scratch, unless the author(s)
of the Linux code can be persuaded to release their implementation
under a BSD license.

For PAM modules the license will be whatever the writer decided.
Sometimes it may make sense to match the base system e.g. if a "unix"
style authentication module were written to be distributed with
NetBSD, it would want to be BSD licensed.

A module that links with MySQL might as well be LGPL or GPL, since
that's the license that MySQL uses. A PostgreSQL module might use a
BSD license.  Something that links with Oracle or proprietary
libraries (e.g. to access a smart card reader or some such) might use
any number of licenses.

Drifting off topic: this posting is intended to be informational.  I'm
not espousing PAM: it would be neat to have it available in NetBSD for
compatibility, but for its own sake the implementations I've seen have
had limitations such as not allowing per-user configuration.  I think
there is room for a NetBSD implementation that provides the standard
API for module writers (necessary for portability) but is smarter
about how it configures and calls the modules.