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Authenticating on the network

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HowTos

Usually, I get annoyed at having to authenticate myself to each and every service I set up; after all, my passwords are the same everywhere, since I make sure of that myself. On Windows, I wouldn’t have to do that; once I log in, Windows is able to communicate credentials to each and every service that asks for them. But something similar is impossible on GNU/Linux, right? Wrong.

Single sign-on

In fact this communicating of credentials, known as “”"single sign-on"“”, has been possible on UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems longer than it has been possible on Windows. The authentication protocol that’s been in use for Windows ever since Windows 2000—Kerberos—was designed and first implemented for UNIX. In the 1980’s. By now, there are three UNIX-implementations of this protocol: the original MIT reference implementation, a second implementation called “”"Heimdal"“”, and the latest one from GNU called “”"Shishi"“”. With Kerberos, it’s possible to authenticate to SSH, HTTP, IMAP, LDAP, NFS, and a whole bunch of other servers—without unnecessarily entering your password.

So why doesn’t every GNU/Linux distribution out there support Kerberos or single sign-on out of the box?

Full Story.

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