prompter type question

Jeffrey Hutzelman jhutz at
Tue Mar 23 14:51:41 EDT 2010

--On Tuesday, March 23, 2010 12:31:09 PM -0400 Greg Hudson 
<ghudson at> wrote:

> On Mon, 2010-03-22 at 18:24 -0400, Nicolas Williams wrote:
>> But boy do we need prompt type information in pam_krb5!
> [...]
>> Yes, but the prompter may still need to know what this is about.
> [...]
>> Clearly it's OK to use it.  But using it doesn't solve Will's problem.
> [...]
>> There's a set of prompt types that are specific to PKINIT that would
>> greatly help Will now:
>>  - insert-token
>>  - enter-PIN
>>  - enter-PIN-on-the-smartcard's-PIN-pad
> Can I have a bit more information about what Sun's pam_krb5
> implementation wants to do with the prompt types?  We can probably add
> these three once I understand the need for them.

I don't speak for Sun, but...

It's important that PAM modules be able to distinguish prompts for multiple 
things from each other, so that they can correctly associate prompts with 
previously-collected replies when retrying an operation after a 
conversation function returns PAM_CONV_AGAIN.

In addition, as the PAM framework's ability to pass previously-entered 
responses between modules improves, it is important for PAM modules to be 
able to tell what a prompt is for, so they can convey it correctly to other 
modules.  It would be bad to record the answer to a PIN prompt as if it 
were a password; we have recently discussed the implications of such 

-- Jeff

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