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Are you asking how to authenticate the user using the existing system authentication (/etc/shadow on Linux, etc), or how to design your own authentication scheme? talks about various kinds of authentication.

Doing authentication for the system is fairly complicated, and requires the root/setuid privilege on Linux, and Administrator privileges on Windows. The actual procedure can be found by reading the source for telnetd/login on Linux, or on MSDN for Windows.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Wtih linux, it's easy.

Just use PAM.

PAM was designed to replace the nightmare of conflicting poorly documented ways of doing this, and now most stuff is "PAM compatible" meaning you code to the PAM interface, and can then use any pluggable module for auth - there are modules for:
- the passwd file (linux default auth)
- mySql DB of your choice
- ...many others

Wiothout PAM, it's a PITA. :(.

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