MAVIS ‐ Modular Attribute-Value Interchange System

Marc Huber

$Id: 962242ff8c37c3c71a675a1484570cb62c9b957c $

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
1.1. Download
2. Design overview
3. Authentication setups
4. Sample setups
5. Configuration Syntax
5.1. Standard Configuration Directives
5.2. Backend Module Configuration
5.2.1. The anonftp module
5.2.2. The asciiftp module
5.2.3. The auth module
5.2.4. The cache module
5.2.5. The external module
5.2.6. The group module
5.2.7. The limit module
5.2.8. The log module
5.2.9. The PAM module
5.2.10. The remote module
5.2.11. The tacinfo_cache module
5.2.12. The system module
5.2.13. The userdb module
5.2.14. The tee module
5.2.15. The null module
5.3. MAVIS Scripting Language
6. Testing your MAVIS configuration
7. Environmental Variables
8. Copyrights and Acknowledgements

1. Introduction

The MAVIS libraries provide a modular and extensible protocol for authorization and authentication tasks. Authorization/authentication modules are stackable and configurable. Both synchronous and asynchronous operation modes are available.

The modules are reentrant, but not thread-save.

1.1. Download

Source and documentation are available from

2. Design overview

The MAVIS system consists of the MAVIS library ( and various MAVIS modules (libmavis_*.so). The library glues the modules together, sends requests to and receives answers from the modules. A module may answer (or modify) a request or pass it on to the module loaded later. It may intercept and modify the response from that module.

Example: Consider the following set-up:

An incoming request, e.g. for FTP authentication, first reaches the log module, which simply passes it on to the limit module. The limit module checks the IP address of the client and rejects the request if that address is blacklisted. Otherwise, the request is passed on to the auth module, which leaves it alone and passes it on to the cache module. If the request is not cached within the cache module it is passed on to the pam module, which sets some attribute-value pairs and sends the request back to the cache module. The cache module in turn adds the request data to its cache database and passes it back the auth module for authentication checking. [Remaining steps omitted.]

     --.                                                      .-->
       |                                                      |
   |   |                                           log   -----'   |
   |   |                                         request <----.   |
   |   '-->  client IP  ------(YES)------> reject ----------->|   |
   |   .--- blacklisted?             .---> request            |   |
   |   |                             |                        |   |
   |  (NO)                         (YES)-- add IP to  --(NO)--'   |
   |   |                                   blacklist? <-------.   |
   |   |                                      verify     -----'   |
   |   |                                  authentication <----.   |
   |   '--> answer for request ---(YES)---> answer request -->|   |
   |   .---  already cached?                                  |   |
   |   |                                                      |   |
   |  (NO)                                        cache  -----'   |
   |   |                                         request <----.   |
   |   '--> retrieve authentication information from ---------'   |
   |            PAM sub-system and system files                   |

3. Authentication setups

Some MAVIS modules have both synchronous and asynchronous operation modes. For low and medium performance applications it's sufficient to have one authentication daemon processing all incoming requests, with all the MAVIS modules utilized by mavisd operating synchronously. However, this introduces a serialization of all queries, causing requests that could immediately be answered by e.g. the limit or cache module to be deferred until database queries got processed. One possible solution to remedy this is to add one or more secondary authentication daemon for asynchronous processing of queries for synchronous-only modules. The remote module automatically distributes queries between the configured MAVIS daemons.

4. Sample setups

  1. Stand alone setup: Authentication requests are processed synchronously. Only recommended for low-latency modules where no common database is required, e.g. the anonftp module.

         .-----------. |
       .-----------. |-|
       |  Client   |-| |
       |-----------| | |
       | [ log   ] | |-'
       | [ ...   ] |-'
  2. Remote authentication setup: Authentication request processing is done asynchronous by mavisd. Recommended for medium-latency modules or modules that require access to shared data, e.g. the limit or cache module.

           .------------.     .-----------.
         .------------. |<===>|  mavisd   |
       .------------. |<=====>|-----------|
       |  Client    |<=======>| [ log   ] |
       |------------| |-'     | [ limit ] |
       | [ remote ] |-'       | [ auth  ] |
       `------------'         | [ cache ] |
                              | [ ...   ] |
  3. Remote authentication setup with redundancy: Recommended for high-latency modules that are only capable of synchronous request processing, high- performance setups or where redundancy is desired, e.g. suitable for database access modules.

           .------------.     .------------.         .-----------.
         .------------. |<===>|  mavisd    |<=======>|  mavisd   |
       .------------. |<=====>|------------|       .-----------.-|
       |  Client    |<=======>| [ log    ] |<=====>|  mavisd   | |
       |------------| |-'     | [ limit  ] |       |-----------| |
       | [ remote ] |-'       | [ auth   ] |       | [ log   ] |-'
       `------------'         | [ cache  ] |       | [ ...   ] |
                              | [ remote ] |       | [ ...   ] |
                              `------------'       `-----------'

5. Configuration Syntax

MAVIS modules are configured within the context of the application utilizing them. There's no special configuration file required or even supported.

Railroad diagram: MavisDecl

5.1. Standard Configuration Directives

Top-level configuration directives common to all of the applications using the MAVIS interface are:

  • include = config

    Evaluates configuration file config.

  • id = ID{ ... }

    Defines a configuration section ID, which will be evaluated by a matching server process.

Standard configuration directives which may be used both at top-level and inside the ID sections are:

  • alias = name { ... }

    Defines an alias for the configuration directives inside the curly brackets.

  • debug = Level ...

    Level can be either a integer value or a sequence of debugging keywords, each of which may, optionally, start with + or -, where + will enable debugging, and - will disable it. Supported keywords and their corresponding integer values are:

    PARSE 1
    AUTHOR 2
    AUTHEN 4
    ACCT 8
    CONFIG 16
    PACKET 32
    HEX 64
    LOCK 128
    REGEX 256
    ACL 512
    RADIUS 1024
    CMD 2049
    BUFFER 4096
    PROC 8192
    NET 16384
    PATH 32768
    CONTROL 65536
    INDEX 131072
    AV 262144
    MAVIS 524288

    Not all of these debugging flags may have an actual effect. The flags are additive; use the special flag NONE to clear all flags, use ALL to set all flags.

    Debugging options may only be available when the package was configured with the --debug command line switch.


    debug = ALL -PARSE -NET
  • regex-match-case = ( yes | no )

    Enables/disables case-sensitive regex pattern matching for the current context. Default: no.

  • syslog ident = Ident

    Set the syslog(3) identity. Defaults to the programs basename.

  • syslog level = Level

    Set the syslog(3) level. Default: INFO.

  • syslog facility = Facility

    Set the syslog(3) facility. Default: UUCP.

  • syslog default = ( permit | deny )

    Enables or disables implicit logging to syslog(3) (if supported). Default is permit.

Standard configuration directives which may be used inside the ID section of MAVIS enabled applications are:

  • mavis path = Path

    Add Path to the module search path.

  • mavis module = ModuleName { ... }

    This directive searchs for module ModuleName in the compiled-in and configured search paths. Alternatively to auto-search, ModuleName may be an absolute path to a MAVIS module. The module will be loaded and will parse the configuration data inside the curly brackets.

An actual configuration could look similar to:

syslog level = INFO
syslog facility = DAEMON

id = spawnd {
    listen = { port = 21 }
    debug = NET
    background = no
    spawn = { exec = /usr/local/libexec/ftpd }

id = ftpd {
    debug = ACL AUTHEN
    mavis path = /some/none/default/location

    mavis module = tee {
        path in = /tmp/
        path out = /tmp/av.out

    mavis module = log {

    mavis module = anonftp {
        userid = 100
        groupid = mail
        home = /
        root = /tmp/
        incoming = /tmp/incoming/

    acl testacl {
        src =

    # lots of stuff missing here ...


5.2. Backend Module Configuration

The following modules are included in the distribution.

5.2.1. The anonftp module

This module implements anonymous FTP authentication. If the cache module is to be used, it has to be loaded after the anonftp module, because the cache module will only cache FTP type queries compatible with the auth module, and queries answered by the anonftp module aren't. Configuration directives

The following configuration directives are mandatory, unless a ftp user exists in the local password database, in which case that information may be gathered from there:

  • userid = UserID

  • groupid = GroupID

  • root = RootDirectory

  • home = HomeDirectory

There's one optional directive:

  • upload = UploadPathRegex

    By default, anonymous FTP uploads are denied. The upload directive specifies a POSIX regular expression where uploads are permitted. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: AnonftpConf

5.2.2. The asciiftp module

This module implements FTP authentication via an ASCII file. Configuration directives
  • file = path

    Authentication data is read from path. The generic syntax for individual configuration file lines is:


    Example file:


    This configuration directive is mandatory.

  • userid ( min | max ) UserID

    This directive specifies upper and lower UID limits.

  • groupid ( min | max ) GroupID

    This directive specifies upper and lower GID limits. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: ASCIIftpConf

5.2.3. The auth module

This module implements the server side of plain text and certificate based authentication schemes.

The auth module is mandatory for most authentication to work. It needs to be loaded before any caching or database access module, and it won't work over remote links unless mavisd is configured with "transmit-password yes". The anonftp and, depending on the backend, the external module are the only ones that doesn't require this module to be loaded. Configuration Syntax

The only configuration option available is

  • authentication-mode = cert [ sufficient | required ]

    This option may be used when authentication via digital certificates (currently supported by the system module) is used. If the sufficient keyword is used, no additional password authentication is necessary. The required keyword makes certificate authentication mandatory Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: AuthConf

5.2.4. The cache module

This module stores the most recently answered queries in RAM for faster processing of subsequent queries for the same data. For most applications, it has to be loaded after the auth module. Configuration directives

Available configuration directives are:

  • expire [ Type ] = Seconds

    Specifies the caching period for requests of type Type (or of all requests, if no type is given). No caching will be performed unless this directive is given. Valid values for Type are: FTP, TACPLUS.


    # cache everything 100 seconds by default:
    expire = 100
    # Don't cache FTP requests:
    cache expire FTP = 0
  • purge-outdated = Seconds

    Periodically, outdated entries have to be removed from the cache. By default, this happens every 300 seconds, but you may specify a different garbage collection interval. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: CacheConf

5.2.5. The external module

This module implements an interface to external authentication programs. An authentication program is expected to read a list of attribute-value pairs on stdin, and write the processed list (plus a result code) to stdout. The programs stderr output will be logged to syslogd.

Sample authentication backends for the external module include various Perl scripts, e.g. for RADIUS and LDAP authentication (see the mavis/perl/ directory), plus C backends. The latter are radmavis (for RADIUS authentication) and pammavis (for PAM authentication, as an alternative to the PAM module). While those may not be as flexible and easily to modify as the Perl scripts, they carry far fewer dependencies, and quite a lot of the usual attribute modifications can be performed using scripts; see the Scripting section below.

Using the external module to interface to external authenticators is probably in most cases favourable to writing custom modules, as external authentication programs may be implemented as easy-to-deploy Perl programs. Plus, you're likely to get get parallelism for free. Configuration directives

The following configuration directives are available:

  • userid = UserID

    Set user id of child process to UserID.

  • groupid = GroupID

    Set group id of child process to GroupID.

  • home = Directory

    Change to Directory before executing child process.

  • childs ( min | max ) = Number

    Set the minimum or maximum number of child processes (defaults: 4, 20).

  • setenv Variable = Value

    Set environment variables.

  • exec = Path Arguments ...

    Set path and arguments (including argv[0]) of the authentication program. It's recommended to enclose the individual arguments in double quotes if they contain non-alphanumeric characters. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: ExternalConf

5.2.6. The group module

This module resolves numerical group IDs returned by a downstream backend to their corresponding ASCII names.

In addition, it allows for filtering group and memberOf attributes. Configuration directives

The following configuration directives are available:

  • resolve gid = ( yes | no )

    This tells the module to resolve the primary group id.

  • resolve gids = ( yes | no )

    This tells the module to resolve the group access list.

  • gid filter = [ not ] gid_start[-gid_end][,gid_start[-gid_end]]*

    Establishes a filter on the GID MAVIS attribute. Example:

    gid filter = 100,1000-1050
  • gids filter = [ not ] gid_start[-gid_end][,gid_start[-gid_end]]*

    Establishes a filter on the GIDS MAVIS attribute. Example:

    gid filter = 100,1000-1050
  • group filter = [ not ] regex[,regex]*

    Establishes a filter on the GID MAVIS attribute after name resolving. Example:

    group filter = /^com/
  • groups filter = [ not ] regex[,regex]*

    Establishes a filter on the GIDS MAVIS attribute after name resolving. Example:

    groups filter = /^com/
  • memberof filter = [ not ] regex[,regex]*

    Establishes a filter on the MEMBEROF MAVIS attribute after name resolving. Example:

    memberof filter = /(?i)^cn=ops,dc=/

(regex syntax in these examples is PCRE, but standard POSIX will work, too.)

5.2.7. The limit module

This module implements limitations on the number of failed authentications per IP address. Configuration directives

Available configuration directives are:

  • blacklist time = Seconds

    blacklist count = Count

    This limits the number of failed authentication requests per client IP address to Count per Seconds interval. Subsequent requests from the same client IP address will be rejected. This is disabled by default.

  • purge-outdated = Seconds

    Periodically, the module will start a garbage collection run in order to remove outdated data from its internal data structures. This directive sets the garbage-collection period to Seconds (default: 300). Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: LimitConf

5.2.8. The log module

This module performs query logging to syslogd. There are no configuration options.

5.2.9. The PAM module

This module implements an interface for FTP authentication via pluggable authentication modules (PAM). The PAM module doesn't support asynchronous operation; you might be better off using the external module in conjunction with the pammavis program, giving you parallelism and a lot more flexibility for free.

PAMs that perform queries other than the standard username/password aren't supported.

Please take care not to use PAM modules with login delays enabled. E.g., for the pam_unix module, configure your PAM subsystem to use the nodelay (or whatever it's called in your setup) option, e.g. in /etc/pam.conf:

mavis required nodelay

or in /etc/pam.d/mavis (or whatever service you've specified, see below):

auth     required nodelay
account  required
password required
session  required

On MacOS, the following should work:

auth     required
account  required
password required
session  required
Note Pluggable Authentiation Modules

Configuring PAM correctly is pretty system specific. Do not assume that one of the examples above will work on your box. Have a look at your existing PAM configurations instead, and read the documentation that comes with your system.

Programs utilizing this module may have to run under the user id of root if access to the shadow password file is required. Configuration directives

Available configuration options are:

  • chroot = ( yes | no )

    This activates a chroot environment for PAM users (default: yes). The chroot root directory is either the users' home directory or, if the home directory path contains a /./ sequence, the directory denoted by the path up to that sequence.

  • service = Service

    This specifies the service name to use for PAM initialization. It defaults to mavis. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: PAMConf

5.2.10. The remote module

This module implements communication with mavisd. Configuration directives

Available configuration options are:

  • local address = IPAddress

    Set address for outgoing IP connections.

  • rebalance = Count

    Re-balances peers after Count requests. May be used to reactivate dead peers. Use with care.

    Default: unset.

  • server = { ... }

    Specifies a server mavisd runs on. Inside the curly brackets, the following directives are permitted:

    • path = UnixPath

    • address = IPAddress

    • port = UDPPort

    • blowfish key = Key

    • blowfish keyfile = KeyFile

    These set remote connection endpoint and blowfish key. This directive may be used multiple times. Communication will be Blowfish encrypted if a key is specified.

    Communication via PF_UNIX sockets may only work if the host system supports anonymous binds for that protocol family. This works on Linux, which supports an abstract namespace which is independent of the file system, but may or may not be an option on other operating systems.

  • timeout = Seconds

    Sets the maximum number of seconds to wait for a response from one of the remote peers. Defaults to: 5.

  • tries = Count

    Sets the maximum number of attempts to get a response from one of the remote peers. Default is 6 tries. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: RemoteConf Possible legal restrictions

This module utilizes Bruce Schneier's Blowfish algorithm. Your government may have choosen to implement ridiculous legal restrictions regarding use or export of cryptographic software. Take care.

5.2.11. The tacinfo_cache module

This module implements on-disk caching of authentication attributes for later authorization. It may be useful to reduce load from the backend, or just to share RADIUS authorization data between tac_plus worker processes. Configuration directives
  • userid = UserID

    Specifies the uid to use for disk access.

  • groupid = GroupID

    Specifies the gid to use for disk access.

  • directory CacheDir

    Specifies the directory to use for caching. Please consider that the daemon will not clean up the files/directories in there. Example
mavis module = tacinfo_cache {
  directory = /tmp/tacinfo
mavis module = external {

5.2.12. The system module

This module implements FTP authentication via UNIX system accounts or accounts defined in UNIX password-style files. Optionally, certificate based authentication is available. Please note that the pam module may be a better choice for most installations.

Programs utilizing this module will most likely have to run under the user id of root if access to the shadow password file is required. Configuration directives
  • chroot = ( yes | no )

    This activates a chroot environment for system users (default: yes). The chroot root directory is either the users home directory or, if the home directory path contains a /./ sequence, the directory denoted by the path up to that sequence.

  • ftpusers file = Path

    Select ftpusers file (default: /etc/ftpusers).

  • passwd file = Path

    Select UNIX password file. If this is omitted, the systems UNIX accounts are used. On *BSD systems you may wish to set path to /etc/master.passwd.

  • shells file = Path

    Select shells file (default: /etc/shells).

  • sslusers file = Path

    Select sslusers file (default: /etc/ssl.users).

    The sslusers file is compatible to the one proposed by Tim Hudson ( in his SSLeay patches to the BSD ftp daemon. It contains lines of the form


    where user1 and user2 are user names, and the /C=US/.... part is a certificate subject.

    In case you're unfamiliar with OpenSSL: you may retrieve the certificate subject of a certificate cert.pem using

    openssl x509 -subject -noout -in cert.pem
  • check ( ftpusers | shells | sslusers ) = ( yes | no )

    Enables checking of the specified file type. Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: SystemConf

5.2.13. The userdb module

This module can be used to define static users, e.g. for FTP. It requires the auth module for user authentication. Configuration directives

Syntax for defining users is user = UserName { ... }. The following configuration directives inside the curly brackets are mandatory for FTP, but not enforced:

  • userid = UserID

  • groupid = GroupID

  • home = HomeDirectory

  • password = ( ( clear | crypt) PasswordString) | mavis

    clear indicates a clear-text password, while crypt tells the parser that PasswordString is DES (or MD5) encrypted. The mavis keyword expects the password to be set by a downstream module.

Optional directives are:

  • root = RootDirectory

  • cert subject = CertSubject

Arbitrary other MAVIS attributes may be set with

  • set AttributeName = Value Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: UserDBConf Example

The following is a valid configuration for ftpd which utilizes various MAVIS backends:

id = spawnd {
    listen = { port = 21 }
    spawn = { instances min = 1 }
    background = no

id = ftpd {
    mavis path = ../../mavis/obj.%O

    mavis module = anonftp {
        userid = 100
        groupid = 100
        root = /tmp/
        home = /
        upload = /tmp/incoming/
    mavis module = auth {
    mavis module = userdb {
        user = test {
            #password = clear test
            password = crypt $1$j/K5hgl2$vyCmLeqUzQmr9DdyPTn01.
            root = /tmp/
            home = /
            userid = 100
            groupid = 100
    symlinks = all
    check-uid = no
    check-gid = no
    check-perm = no

5.2.14. The tee module

This module is used for development only. It writes sent and received attribute-value pairs to disk in a format which may, for example, be used to test external authenticators (see the description of the external module). Configuration directives

Available configuration options are:

  • userid = UserID

  • groupid = GroupID

  • mode = Mode

  • path ( in | out ) Path Railroad Diagram

Railroad diagram: TeeConf

5.2.15. The null module

This module comes without any functionality on its own. It may however be used in conjunction with the scripting feature described below.

5.3. MAVIS Scripting Language

All MAVIS modules in the distribution come with some basic scripting language support for modifying AV pair and/or module behavior. Scripts can be called when entering or leaving a module and are defined using the script keyword.

Generic syntax for the scripting feature is:

script ( in | out ) = { action+ }

Valid actions are:

  • { action+ }

    Defines an action block consisting of multiple actions.

  • continue

    Stops processing the remainder of the script and continues with regular module operation.

  • return

    Stops processing the remainder of the script and returns the currently set attributes to the caller.

  • skip

    Skips this module and continue with the next one.

  • set attribute = value

    Sets the specified MAVIS attribute. If the software was compiled with PCRE support (strongly recommended!), the strings $1 ... $9 will be replaced with the substrings from the latest condition matching operation.

  • unset attribute

    Clears the specified MAVIS attribute.

  • reset attribute

    Resets the specified MAVIS attribute to its original value.

  • toupper attribute

    Converts the specified MAVIS attribute to upper case.

  • tolower attribute

    Converts the specified MAVIS attribute to lower case.

  • eval condition

    Evaluates condition, and populates the PCRE substring information vector ($1 ... $9).

  • if ( condition ) action [ else action ]

    Evaluates condition and executes one of the actions, if any.

Syntax for condition:

  • ! condition

    Boolean negation.

  • condition && condition

    Boolean AND.

  • condition || condition

    Boolean OR.

  • attribute == ( attribute | value )

    Exact match.

  • attribute != ( attribute | value )

    No exact match.

  • attribute =~ regex

    Exact match. Enclose regex in / for PCRE.

  • attribute !~ regex

    No exact match.

  • defined ( attribute )

    TRUE if attribute is set, false else.

  • undef ( attribute )

    TRUE if attribute is not set, false else.

At least the top-level condition needs to be enclosed in round brackets.

Railroad diagram: MavisScript

Railroad diagram: MavisCond

Railroad diagram: MavisAction

Here's a sample configuration for FTP authentication via RADIUS, using the radmavis binary, called via the external module:

    mavis module = external {
        script in = {
            if ($TYPE == FTP) {
                # Make sure $USER is a) lowercase and b) in user@realm format.
                # This isn't mandatory; I just want to show how to do it:
                tolower $USER
                if ( $USER =~ /^([^\\\\]+)\\\\(.*)$/ )
                    set $USER = $2@$1
                else if ( $USER !~ /^([^@]+)@(.*)$/ ) {
                    eval ($USER =~ /^.*$/)
                    set $USER = $1@myrealm
        script out = {
            if ( $TYPE == FTP && $PASSWORD == $DBPASSWORD ) {
                set $ROOT = /export/home
                eval ( $USER =~ /^.*$/ )
                set $HOME = /$1
                set $UID = 100
                set $GID = 100
                set $GIDS = "100,102,129"
                set $RESULT = ACK
                # Reset the username to the original value, or upstream
                # will complain:
                reset $USER
        exec = /usr/local/sbin/radmavis radmavis "authserver=localhost:1812:mYrAdIuSsEcReT"

Note that backslashes in regular expressions need to be doubled.

Likewise, the pammavis program may be used for authentication using PAM. Example for TACACS+:

    mavis module = external {
        script out = {
            # This is actually no longer necessary for recent versions
            if ($TYPE == TACPLUS) {
                if ($TACTYPE == AUTH && $PASSWORD == $DBPASSWORD || $TACTYPE == INFO) {
                    set $RESULT = ACK
                    # If you're working with "password = mavis" in user profiles
                    # and have all users defined locally, there's no need to set
                    # any particular TACPROFILE value and you may omit the next
                    # line:
                    set $TACPROFILE = "{ member = noc }"
        exec = /usr/local/sbin/pammavis pammavis -s pamservicename
        # Optionally: If tac_plus only queries for attributes and we don't
        # evaluate those set by pammavis, then there's no use in calling the
        # latter at all. The "return" will continue with the "out" script:
        script in = { if ($TYPE == TACPLUS && $TACTYPE == INFO) return }

As detailed in the PAM module section above, take care not to use a PAM service which implements login delays. The PAM service can be selected using the -s pamservicename option and defaults to mavis. PAMs that perform queries other than the standard username/password aren't supported.

Tip Cisco Duo will work just fine with pammavisif you're using autopush = yes. Example configuration (for Ubuntu):
# cat /etc/security/pam_duo.conf
host = api-<snip>
ikey = <snip>
skey = <snip>
autopush = yes
failmode = safe
# cat /etc/pam.d/mavis-duo
auth requisite nullok
auth [success=1 default=ignore]
auth requisite
auth required
auth optional
account required
include common-account
include common-password*

A more sophisticated example for TACACS+ (no, that's not compatible to tac_plus-ng):

id = spawnd { listen = { port = 49 } }

id = tac_plus {
  mavis module = groups {
    resolve gids = yes
    groups filter = /^(guest|staff)$/
    script out = {
      # copy the already filtered UNIX group access list to TACMEMBER
      eval $GIDS =~ /^(.*)$/
      set $TACMEMBER = $1
  mavis module = external {
    exec = /usr/local/sbin/pammavis pammavis -s mavis
  user backend = mavis
  login backend = mavis
  host = global { address = key = mykey }

  group = staff {
    service = shell {
      default command = permit
      default command = permit
      set priv-lvl = 15
  group = guest {
    service = shell {
      default command = deny
      set priv-lvl = 15
      cmd = show { permit .* }

Another example script emulates the anonftp module functionality:

    mavis module = null {
        script in = {
            if ($TYPE == FTP && ($USER == ftp || $USER == anonymous)) {
                set $RESULT = ACK
                set $FTP_ANONYMOUS = TRUE
                set $EMAIL = $PASSWORD
                set $ROOT = /public/ftp
                set $HOME = /
                set $UID = 123
                set $GID = 123

See mavis/mavis.h for a list of supported attributes.

6. Testing your MAVIS configuration

You'll almost certainly want to validate that your backend configuration behaves as expected. You can do so using the mavistest binary. Syntax is:

mavistest [options] <config> <id> <type> <user> [<password>]

  -P                  (parse only)
  -d <debuglevel>     (set debug level)

Valid <type> values: FTP, TACPLUS

Sample usage: mavistest -d -1  /usr/local/etc/tac_plus.cfg tac_plus TACPLUS joe p4ssw0rd

7. Environmental Variables

Text enclosed in double quotes may make use of environment variables, e.g.:

filename = "${HOME}/log.txt"

The braces are required.

8. Copyrights and Acknowledgements

Please see the source for copyright and licensing information of individual files.

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