Updated 2008-03-16 17:14:16 by dkf

PAM is a Pluggable Authentication Module for Linux and other Unix platforms

From the FAQ available at [1] ... "PAM provides a way to develop programs that are independent of authentication scheme. These programs need "authentication modules" to be attatched to them at run-time in order to work. Which authentication module is to be attatched is dependent upon the local system setup and is at the discretion of the local system administrator."

Here's a small Critcl script that allows you to call PAM from Tcl. It makes a couple of assumptions (e.g. the service name is empty) so you might need to tweak it for your particular application - stevel. A more comprehensive solution can be found here[2].
 #   pam.tcl
 #   Tcl interface to the *nix PAM library

 package require critcl
 package provide pam 1.0

 if {![critcl::compiling]} {
     puts stderr "This extension cannot be compiled without critcl enabled"
     exit 1

 namespace eval pam {

     critcl::clibraries -lpam

     critcl::ccode {
         #include <stdio.h>
         #include <security/pam_appl.h>
         #include <security/pam_misc.h>

         static int conversation(int num_msg, const struct pam_message **msg,
                                 struct pam_response **resp, void *appdata_ptr)
             /* just return the supplied password back to PAM */
             *resp = calloc(num_msg, sizeof(struct pam_response));
             (*resp)[0].resp = strdup((char *) appdata_ptr);
             (*resp)[0].resp_retcode = 0;
             return ((*resp)[0].resp ? PAM_SUCCESS : PAM_CONV_ERR);

     critcl::cproc authenticate {char* user char* passwd} int {
         struct pam_conv conv = { conversation, passwd };
         pam_handle_t *pamh = NULL;
         int code, ret;

         if (pam_start("", user, &conv, &pamh) != PAM_SUCCESS) {
             return 0;
         if (pam_authenticate(pamh, 0) == PAM_SUCCESS) {
             ret = 1;
         } else {
             ret = 0;
         if (pam_end(pamh, 0) != PAM_SUCCESS) {
             ret = 0;
         return ret;