Authentication in the Taos Operating System

ACM Transactions on Computer Systems | , Vol 12(1): pp. 3-32

Originally appeared in ACM SIGOPS 14th Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, Operating Systems Review, December 1993, pp 256-269.

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We describe a design for security in a distributed system and its implementation. In our design, applications gain access to security services through a narrow interface. This interface provides a notion of identity that includes simple principals, groups, roles, and delegations. A new operating system component manages principals, credentials, and secure channels. It checks credentials according to the formal rules of a logic of authentication. Our implementation is efficient enough to support a substantial user community.