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Re: State of OpenStack Auth



Really good question about why we didn't use cookies. There are two problems that I see with cookies.

1)  Weak support in HTTP client libraries.  HTTP libs tend to not handle them at all or to not handle them correctly. In the Java world,  for example, java.net.* doesn't handle cookies very well. There are certainly other libs that handle them, but a whole bunch of software is built on top of java.net.* including some popular REST libraries.
2)  Say you make a request and don't include your cookie in it. A typical webapp will simply redirect you to a login form.  But what should happen in a REST API?  Should you get a 401?  I think it's a little fuzzy how we would handle this correctly.

If you want browser support -- and personally I think all of our APIs should be browser friendly -- I think the best approach is to support an establish scheme like HTTP Basic or Digest.  These schemes have great client lib support.  They are supported in a friendly way by browsers.  And they don't break HTTP semantics, so you don't get a redirect when you should be getting a request for credentials.

That said, I really feel we should take a pluggable approach to authentication so that we can let operators and clients decide what they need.

-jOrGe W.

On Mar 1, 2011, at 3:08 PM, Eric Day wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 10:02:37PM +0100, Soren Hansen wrote:
>> 2011/3/1 Eric Day <eday@xxxxxxxxxxxx>:
>>> Well, hopefully with a shared, modular service, we can add a token
>>> module that uses cookies instead. :)
>> Sure :) I was just hoping to extract whatever wisdom might have been
>> behind the decision to seemingly reinvent the concept of cookies.
>> Perhaps there's some reason to avoid cookies I'm missing... Sorry,
>> didn't mean to hijack your thread :)
> That's what this thread is for, figure out what we have and what do
> we want? :)
> Perhaps Jorge or someone else on the Rackspace auth side can share
> some reasons for the decisions?
> -Eric
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