kas - Introduction to the kas command suite


The commands in the kas command suite are the administrative interface to the Authentication Server, an obsolete AFS server process that maintains the Authentication Database and provides the authentication tickets that client applications must present to AFS servers in order to obtain access to AFS data and other services. It is used only for cells still running the Authentication Server until they can migrate to a Kerberos version 5 KDC.

There are several categories of commands in the kas command suite:

Because of the sensitivity of information in the Authentication Database, the Authentication Server authenticates issuers of kas commands directly, rather than accepting the standard token generated by the Ticket Granting Service. Any kas command that requires administrative privilege prompts the issuer for a password. The resulting ticket is valid for six hours unless the maximum ticket lifetime for the issuer or the Authentication Server's Ticket Granting Service is shorter.

To avoid having to provide a password repeatedly when issuing a sequence of kas commands, enter interactive mode by issuing the kas interactive command, typing kas without any operation code, or typing kas followed by a user and cell name, separated by an at-sign (@; an example is kas After prompting once for a password, the Authentication Server accepts the resulting token for every command issued during the interactive session. See kas_interactive(8) for a discussion of when to use each method for entering interactive mode and of the effects of entering a session.

The Authentication Server maintains two databases on the local disk of the machine where it runs:


The kas command suite is provided only for administration of the obsolete Authentication Server for cells that have not yet migrated to a Kerberos version 5 KDC. New deployments should not use the Authentication Server, and it and the kas command suite will be removed in a future version of OpenAFS.


The following arguments and flags are available on many commands in the kas suite. (Some of them are unavailable on commands entered in interactive mode, because the information they specify is established when entering interactive mode and cannot be changed except by leaving interactive mode.) The reference page for each command also lists them, but they are described here in greater detail.

-admin_username <user name>

Specifies the user identity under which to authenticate with the Authentication Server for execution of the command. If this argument is omitted, the kas command interpreter requests authentication for the identity under which the issuer is logged onto the local machine. Do not combine this argument with the -noauth flag.

-cell <cell name>

Names the cell in which to run the command. It is acceptable to abbreviate the cell name to the shortest form that distinguishes it from the other entries in the /usr/vice/etc/CellServDB file on the local machine. If the -cell argument is omitted, the command interpreter determines the name of the local cell by reading the following in order:

The -cell argument is not available on commands issued in interactive mode. The cell defined when the kas command interpreter enters interactive mode applies to all commands issued during the interactive session.


Prints a command's online help message on the standard output stream. Do not combine this flag with any of the command's other options; when it is provided, the command interpreter ignores all other options, and only prints the help message.


Establishes an unauthenticated connection to the Authentication Server, in which the Authentication Server treats the issuer as the unprivileged user anonymous. It is useful only when authorization checking is disabled on the server machine (during the installation of a server machine or when the bos setauth command has been used during other unusual circumstances). In normal circumstances, the Authentication Server allows only privileged users to issue most kas commands, and refuses to perform such an action even if the -noauth flag is provided. Do not combine this flag with the -admin_username and -password_for_admin arguments.

-password_for_admin <password>

Specifies the password of the command's issuer. It is best to omit this argument, which echoes the password visibly in the command shell, instead enter the password at the prompt. Do not combine this argument with the -noauth flag.

-servers <machine name>+

Establishes a connection with the Authentication Server running on each specified database server machine, instead of on each machine listed in the local /usr/vice/etc/CellServDB file. In either case, the kas command interpreter then chooses one of the machines at random to contact for execution of each subsequent command. The issuer can abbreviate the machine name to the shortest form that allows the local name service to identify it uniquely.


To issue most kas commands, the issuer must have the ADMIN flag set in his or her Authentication Database entry (use the kas setfields command to turn the flag on).


CellServDB(5), kaserver.DB0(5), kaserverauxdb(5), kas_apropos(8), kas_create(8), kas_delete(8), kas_examine(8), kas_forgetticket(8), kas_help(8), kas_interactive(8), kas_list(8), kas_listtickets(8), kas_noauthentication(8), kas_quit(8), kas_setfields(8), kas_setpassword(8), kas_statistics(8), kas_stringtokey(8), kas_unlock(8), kaserver(8)


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This documentation is covered by the IBM Public License Version 1.0. It was converted from HTML to POD by software written by Chas Williams and Russ Allbery, based on work by Alf Wachsmann and Elizabeth Cassell.