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I know that Pat Volkerding didn't include PAM back in the day when it was considered by some to be messy or inconsistent, although that doesn't really seem to be the case today with PAM being standardized accross distributions.

What are the reasons for Slackware not including PAM in recent versions of Slackware?

Are there any other distributions that abstain from incorporating PAM?

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there's a recent version of slackware ? I thought they released once per lifetime, with the release shell scripts being passed down from father to son in the will. –  Sirex Mar 8 '12 at 11:02

2 Answers 2

I don't know Slackware, but some people consider PAM as over-engineered and a potential source of security related issues.

For example, when auditing the source code of a system that uses PAM-authentication you have to audit PAM as well. And depending on your knowledge of PAM and the used configuration it can be considered as problematic (i.e. opaque, too complex to get right ...).

Also, more code always means more chances to introduce bugs.

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Hmm...I had thought PAM was standard these days and required for some things? Is there anything it is required for? –  thx1139 Mar 8 '12 at 8:23
    
@thx1139, well, 'Nothing is true, everything is permitted' - e.g. in the 70ies hierachical dbs were pretty much standard, then suddenly relational dbs came around. Currently, SQL dbs are considered pretty much standard - but now there are also people advocating 'no-sql'. Regarding PAM: the util-linux package just recently dropped non-PAM support in their login version - and even now you can use login from shadowutils (?) without PAM. –  maxschlepzig Mar 9 '12 at 18:51

Yes there are other distros, mainly those which keep KISS principle. PAM is over-complicated, people use it even they do know how it works. Then little typo/error makes security issue.

Check http://crux.nu/Main/About which is nice KISS clean Linux distro.

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