OpenPAM is an open source PAM library that focuses on simplicity, correctness, and cleanliness.
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OpenPAM ??? 2020-07-??
- BUGFIX: Fix race condition in openpam_ttyconv(3) when used with
expect scripts.
OpenPAM Tabebuia 2019-02-24
- BUGFIX: Fix off-by-one bug in pam_getenv(3) which was introduced in
OpenPAM Radula.
- ENHANCE: Add unit tests for pam_{get,put,set}env(3).
OpenPAM Resedacea 2017-04-30
- BUGFIX: Reinstore the NULL check in pam_end(3) which was removed in
OpenPAM Radula, as it breaks common error-handling constructs.
- BUGFIX: Return PAM_SYMBOL_ERR instead of PAM_SYSTEM_ERR from the
dispatcher when the required service function could not be found.
- ENHANCE: Introduce the PAM_BAD_HANDLE error code for when pamh is
NULL in API functions that have a NULL check.
PAM_BAD_CONSTANT error codes for situations where we previously
incorrectly used PAM_SYMBOL_ERR to denote that an invalid constant
had been passed to an API function.
- ENHANCE: Improve the RETURN VALUES section in API man pages,
especially for functions that cannot fail, which were incorrectly
documented as returning -1 on failure.
OpenPAM Radula 2017-02-19
- BUGFIX: Fix an inverted test which prevented pam_get_authtok(3) and
pam_get_user(3) from using application-provided custom prompts.
- BUGFIX: Plug a memory leak in pam_set_item(3).
- BUGFIX: Plug a potential memory leak in openpam_readlinev(3).
- BUGFIX: In openpam_readword(3), support line continuations within
- ENHANCE: Add a feature flag to control fallback to "other" policy.
- ENHANCE: Add a pam_return(8) module which returns an arbitrary
code specified in the module options.
- ENHANCE: More and better unit tests.
OpenPAM Ourouparia 2014-09-12
- ENHANCE: When executing a chain, require at least one service
function to succeed. This mitigates fail-open scenarios caused by
misconfigurations or missing modules.
- ENHANCE: Make sure to overwrite buffers which may have contained an
authentication token when they're no longer needed.
- BUGFIX: Under certain circumstances, specifying a non-existent
module (or misspelling the name of a module) in a policy could
result in a fail-open scenario. (CVE-2014-3879)
- FEATURE: Add a search path for modules. This was implemented in
Nummularia but inadvertently left out of the release notes.
- BUGFIX: The is_upper() predicate only accepted the letter A as an
upper-case character instead of the entire A-Z range. As a result,
service and module names containing upper-case letters other than A
would be rejected.
OpenPAM Nummularia 2013-09-07
- ENHANCE: Rewrite the dynamic loader to improve readability and
reliability. Modules can now be listed without the ".so" suffix in
the policy file; OpenPAM will automatically add it, just like it
will automatically add the version number if required.
- ENHANCE: Allow openpam_straddch(3) to be called without a character
so it can be used to preallocate a string.
- ENHANCE: Improve portability by adding simple asprintf(3) and
vasprintf(3) implementations for platforms that don't have them.
- ENHANCE: Move the libpam sources into a separate subdirectory.
- ENHANCE: Substantial documentation improvements.
- BUGFIX: When openpam_readword(3) encountered an opening quote, it
would set the first byte in the buffer to '\0', discarding all
existing text and, unless the buffer was empty to begin with, all
subsequent text as well. This went unnoticed because none of the
unit tests for quoted strings had any text preceding the opening
- BUGFIX: make --with-modules-dir work the way it was meant to work
(but never did).
OpenPAM Micrampelis 2012-05-26
- FEATURE: Add an openpam_readword(3) function which reads the next
word from an input stream, applying shell quoting and escaping
rules. Add numerous unit tests for openpam_readword(3).
- FEATURE: Add an openpam_readlinev(3) function which uses the
openpam_readword(3) function to read words from an input stream one
at a time until it reaches an unquoted, unescaped newline, and
returns an array of those words. Add several unit tests for
- FEATURE: Add a PAM_HOST item which pam_start(3) initializes to the
machine's hostname. This was implemented in Lycopsida but
inadvertantly left out of the release notes.
- FEATURE: In pam_get_authtok(3), if neither the application nor the
module have specified a prompt and PAM_HOST and PAM_RHOST are both
defined but not equal, use a different default prompt that includes
- ENHANCE: Rewrite the policy parser to used openpam_readlinev(),
which greatly simplifies the code.
- ENHANCE: The previous implementation of the policy parser relied on
the openpam_readline(3) function, which (by design) munges
whitespace and understands neither quotes nor backslash escapes.
As a result of the aforementioned rewrite, whitespace, quotes and
backslash escapes in policy files are now handled in a consistent
and predictable manner.
- ENHANCE: On platforms that have it, use fdlopen(3) to load modules.
This closes the race between the ownership / permission check and
the dlopen(3) call.
- ENHANCE: Reduce the amount of pointless error messages generated
while searching for a module.
- ENHANCE: Numerous documentation improvements, both in content and
- BUGFIX: A patch incorporated in Lycopsida inadvertantly changed
OpenPAM's behavior when several policies exist for the same
service, from ignoring all but the first to concatenating them all.
Revert to the original behavior.
- BUGFIX: Plug a memory leak in the policy parser.
OpenPAM Lycopsida 2011-12-18
- ENHANCE: removed static build autodetection, which didn't work
anyway. Use an explicit, user-specified preprocessor variable
- ENHANCE: cleaned up the documentation a bit.
- ENHANCE: added openpam_subst(3), allowing certain PAM items to be
embedded in strings such as prompts. Apply it to the prompts used
by pam_get_user(3) and pam_get_authtok(3).
- ENHANCE: added support for the user_prompt, authtok_prompt and
oldauthtok_prompt module options, which override the prompts passed
by the module to pam_set_user(3) and pam_get_authtok(3).
- ENHANCE: rewrote the policy parser to support quoted option values.
- ENHANCE: added pamtest(1), a tool for testing modules and policies.
- ENHANCE: added code to check the ownership and permissions of a
module before loading it.
- ENHANCE: added / improved input validation in many cases, including
the policy file and some function arguments. (CVE-2011-4122)
OpenPAM Hydrangea 2007-12-21
- ENHANCE: when compiling with GCC, mark up API functions with GCC
attributes where appropriate.
- BUGFIX: fixed numerous warnings uncovered by GCC 4.
- ENHANCE: building the documentation is now optional.
- ENHANCE: corrected a number of mistakes and style issues in the
build system.
- ENHANCE: API function arguments are now const where appropriate, to
match corresponding changes in the Solaris PAM and Linux-PAM APIs.
- ENHANCE: corrected a number of C namespace violations.
- ENHANCE: the module cache has been removed, allowing long-lived
applications to pick up module changes. This also allows multiple
threads to use PAM simultaneously (as long as they use separate PAM
contexts), since the module cache was the only part of OpenPAM that
was not thread-safe.
OpenPAM Figwort 2005-06-16
- BUGFIX: Correct several small signedness and initialization bugs
discovered during review by the NetBSD team.
- BUGFIX: Modify to sort cross-references in dictionary
order within each section.
- ENHANCE: if a policy specifies a relative module path, prepend the
module directory so we never call dlopen(3) with a relative path.
- ENHANCE: add a pam.conf(5) manual page.
OpenPAM Feterita 2005-02-01
- BUGFIX: Correct numerous markup errors, invalid cross-references,
and other issues in the manual pages, with kind assistance from
Ruslan Ermilov <>.
- BUGFIX: Avoid multiple evaluation of macro arguments in ENTERX()
and RETURNX() macros.
- BUGFIX: Remove an unnecessary and non-portable pointer cast in
- BUGFIX: Fix identical typos in PAM_ACCT_EXPIRED case in
pam_strerror(3) and
- ENHANCE: Minor overhaul of the autoconf / build system.
- ENHANCE: Add openpam_free_envlist(3).
OpenPAM Eelgrass 2004-02-10
- BUGFIX: Correct array handling bugs in conversation code.
- BUGFIX: In openpam_ttyconv(3), don't strip trailing linear
whitespace from the user's response.
- BUGFIX: Many constness issues addressed.
OpenPAM Dogwood 2003-07-15
- ENHANCE: Use the GNU autotools.
- ENHANCE: Constify the msg field in struct pam_message.
- BUGFIX: Remove left-over debugging output
- BUGFIX: Avoid side effects in arguments to the FREE() macro
- ENHANCE: Make openpam_ttyconv(3) use read(2) rather than fgets(3).
- BUGFIX: Staticize some variables which shouldn't be global.
- BUGFIX: Correcly anticipate a NULL user in pam_get_user(3).
- ENHANCE: Various minor documentation improvements.
Thanks to Dmitry V. Levin <> for considerable
assistance with this release.
OpenPAM Digitalis 2003-06-01
- ENHANCE: Completely rewrite the configuration parser and add
support for the "include" control flag.
- ENHANCE: Improve portability to NetBSD, OpenBSD and Linux.
- ENHANCE: Lots of additional paranoia.
- BUGFIX: The sample su(1) application dropped privileges before
forking instead of after.
- ENHANCE: Document openpam_log(3).
- ENHANCE: Other minor documentation fixes.
Thanks to Dmitry V. Levin <> for considerable
assistance with this release.
OpenPAM Dianthus 2003-05-02
- BUGFIX: Initialize some potentially uninitialized variables.
- BUGFIX: Silence some warnings emitted by gcc -std=iso9899:1999.
- BUGFIX: In pam_getenv(), return a pointer to the stored variable
instead of a freshly allocated copy.
- ENHANCE: Detect recursion in openpam_borrow_cred()
- ENHANCE: Make borrowing one's own credentials a no-op.
- ENHANCE: Further improve debugging support.
- ENHANCE: Clean up some variable names.
OpenPAM Daffodil 2003-01-06
- ENHANCE: Document dependency on <sys/types.h> (for size_t)
- ENHANCE: Slightly improve error detection in openpam_ttyconv().
- BUGFIX: Fix several typos in debugging macros.
OpenPAM Cyclamen 2002-12-12
- ENHANCE: Improve recursion detection in openpam_dispatch().
- ENHANCE: Add debugging messages at entry and exit points of most
- ENHANCE: Fix some minor style issues.
- BUGFIX: Add default cases to the switches in openpam_log.c.
- ENHANCE: Add /usr/local/etc/pam.conf to policy search path.
- BUGFIX: In openpam_ttyconv(3), print the prompt to stdout rather
than stderr.
OpenPAM Citronella 2002-06-30
- ENHANCE: Add the "binding" control flag (from Solaris 9).
- ENHANCE: Define struct pam_repository and PAM_REPOSITORY (from
Solaris 9).
- ENHANCE: Flesh out the pam(3) man page.
- ENHANCE: Add an openpam(3) page with cross-references to all the
documented OpenPAM API extensions.
- ENHANCE: Add a pam_conv(3) man page describing the conversation
- ENHANCE: Improved sample application.
- ENHANCE: Added sample pam_unix module.
- BUGFIX: Various documentation nits.
OpenPAM Cinquefoil 2002-05-24
- BUGFIX: Various warnings uncovered by gcc 3.1.
- ENHANCE: Add a null conversation function, openpam_nullconv(3).
- BUGFIX: Initialize the "other" chain to all zeroes.
- ENHANCE: Document openpam_ttyconv(3).
OpenPAM Cinnamon 2002-05-02
- ENHANCE: Add a null conversation function, openpam_nullconv().
- BUGFIX: Various markup bugs in the documentation.
- BUGFIX: Document <security/openpam.h>.
- BUGFIX: Duplicate expansion of openpam_log() macro arguments.
- ENHANCE: Restructure the policy-loading code and align our use of
the "other" policy with Solaris and Linux-PAM.
- ENHANCE: Log dlopen() and dlsym() failures.
- ENHANCE: In openpam_ttyconv(), emit a newline after error and info
messages unless the message contains one already.
- BUGFIX: In pam_vprompt(), initialize the response pointer to NULL
so we can detect whether the conversation function touched it.
OpenPAM Cineraria 2002-04-14
- BUGFIX: Fix confusion between token and prompt in
- ENHANCE: Improved documentation.
- ENHANCE: Adopt the same preprocessor tricks that were used in
FreeBSD's version of Linux-PAM to simplify static linking without
requiring dummy primitives.
- ENHANCE: Move the policy-loading code out of pam_start.c.
- BUGFIX: Fix typo in one of the versions of the openpam_log macro.
- ENHANCE: Add versioning macros.
OpenPAM Cinchona 2002-04-08
- ENHANCE: Improved documentation for several API functions.
- BUGFIX: Fix bug in pam_set_data() that would result in corruption
of the module data list.
- BUGFIX: Allocate the correct amount of memory for the environment
list in pam_putenv().
- ENHANCE: Change pam_get_authtok()'s prototype so the caller can
specify what token it wants. Also introduce PAM_OLDAUTHTOK_PROMPT.
- BUGFIX: Plug memory leak in pam_get_user() / pam_get_authtok(), and
reduce differences between these very similar functions.
- ENHANCE: Check flags carefully in pam_authenticate() and
- BUGFIX: Fix bugs in portability code; libpam now builds on NetBSD.
- ENHANCE: In pam_get_authtok(), if PAM_OLDAUTHTOK is set, we're
asked for PAM_AUTHTOK, and we have to prompt the user, prompt her
twice and compare the responses.
- ENHANCE: Add openpam_{borrow,restore}_cred(), for temporarily
switching to user credentials.
- ENHANCE: Add openpam_free_data(), a generic cleanup function for
pam_set_data() consumers.
OpenPAM Centaury 2002-03-14
- BUGFIX: Add missing #include <string.h> to openpam_log.c.
the former, but Solaris and Linux-PAM use the latter.
- BUGFIX: The dynamic loader and the module cache contained a number
of bugs which would cause a segmentation fault if pam_start(3) was
called again after pam_end(3), as happens in login(1), xdm(1) etc.
after a failed login.
- BUGFIX: Refer to a module by the name used in the policy file, even
if the module that was actually loaded was versioned.
- ENHANCE: Suppress debugging logs, unless compiled with -DDEBUG.
OpenPAM Celandine 2002-03-05
- BUGFIX: PAM_TRY_AGAIN is a valid return value for pam_chauthtok().
- BUGFIX: Run passwd chain twice, first with the PAM_PRELIM_CHECK
flag set, then with the PAM_UPDATE_AUTHTOK flag set.
- BUGFIX: Failure of a "sufficient" module should not terminate the
passwd chain if the PAM_PRELIM_CHECK flag is set.
- BUGFIX: Clear PAM_AUTHTOK after running the service modules.
- ENHANCE: Prevent applications from specifying the PAM_PRELIM_CHECK
or PAM_UPDATE_AUTHTOK flags themselves.
- BUGFIX: openpam_set_option() did not support changing the value of
an existing option.
- ENHANCE: Add support for module versioning. OpenPAM will prefer a
module with the same version number as the library itself to one
with no version number at all.
OpenPAM Cantaloupe 2002-02-22
- BUGFIX: The proper use of PAM_SYMBOL_ERR is to indicate an invalid
argument to pam_[gs]et_item(3), not to indicate dlsym(3) failures.
- ENHANCE: Add in-line documentation in most source files, and a Perl
script that generates mdoc code from that.
- BUGFIX: The environment list was not properly NULL-terminated.
- ENHANCE: Allow the PAM_AUTHTOK_PROMPT item to override the prompt
specified by the module.
- BUGFIX: PAM_NUM_ITEMS was set too low. It has been moved to
pam_constants.h to avoid it going stale again.
- ENHANCE: Move all code related to static modules into a separate
- ENHANCE: openpam_ttyconv() now masks most signals while prompting the
user, and supports setting a timeout (which defaults to off).
- BUGFIX: Some manual pages referenced XSSO even though they
documented OpenPAM-specific functions.
- ENHANCE: Added openpam_get_option() and openpam_set_option().
- ENHANCE: openpam_get_authtok() now respects the echo_pass,
try_first_pass, and use_first_pass options.
OpenPAM Caliopsis 2002-02-13
Fixed a number of bugs in the previous release, including:
- a number of bugs in and related to pam_[gs]et_item(3)
- off-by-one bug in pam_start.c would trim last character off certain
configuration lines
- incorrect ordering of an array in openpam_load.c would cause service
module functions to get mixed up
- missing 'continue' in openpam_dispatch.c caused successes to be
counted as failures
OpenPAM Calamite 2002-02-09
First (beta) release.