|PolicyKit Reference Manual|
pklocalauthority — PolicyKit Local Authority
The Local Authority is the default PolicyKit authority implementation. Configuration for the Local Authority and information pertaining to authorization decisions are read from local files on the disk. One design goal of the Local Authority is to split configuration items into separate files such that 3rd party packages and users won't conflict trying to edit the same files. This policy also ensures smooth upgrades when distributing PolicyKit using a package management system.
Files shipped with PolicyKit and 3rd party packages (e.g. under package manager control) typically have comments (such as “DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE, it will be overwritten on update”) telling the system administrator that changes will be overwritten on update.
PolicyKit makes a distinction between user authentication (to make the user in front of the system prove he really is the user) and administrator authentication (to make the user in front of the system prove he really is an administrator). Since various operating systems (or even flavors of the same operating system) has different ways of defining "administrator", the Local Authority provides a way to specify what "administrator authentication" means.
By default, "administrator authentication" is defined as asking for the root password. Since some systems, for usability reasons, don't have a root password and instead rely on a group of users being member of an administrative group that gives them super-user privileges, the Local Authority can be configured to support this use-case as well.
Configuration for the Local Authority is read from files in
directory. All files are read in lexigraphical order (using the
C locale) meaning that later files can override earlier
ones. The file
contains the settings provided by the OS vendor. Users and 3rd
party packages can drop configuration files with a priority
higher than 60 to change the defaults. The configuration file
format is simple. Each configuration file is a key
file (also commonly known as a ini
file) with a single group
[Configuration]. Only a single
AdminIdentities is read. The value of
this key is a semi-colon separated list of identities that can
be used when administrator authentication is required. Users are
specified by prefixing the user name with
unix-user: and groups of users are specified
by prefixing with
the section called “EXAMPLES” for an example of a
The Local Authority reads files with
extension from all directories located inside the
directories. By default, the following sub-directories are installed.
/etc/polkit-1/ `-- localauthority |-- 10-vendor.d |-- 20-org.d |-- 30-site.d |-- 50-local.d `-- 90-mandatory.d
/var/lib/polkit-1/ `-- localauthority |-- 10-vendor.d |-- 20-org.d |-- 30-site.d |-- 50-local.d `-- 90-mandatory.d
is inteded for local configuration and
intended for 3rd party packages.
.pkla file contains one or more
authorization entries. If the underlying filesystem supports
file monitoring, the Local Authority will reload information
.pkla files are added, removed or
Each directory is intended for a specific audience
Intended for use by the OS vendor.
Intended for the organization deploying the OS.
Intended for the site deploying the system.
Intended for local usage.
Intended for the organization deploying the OS.
and new directories can be added/removed as needed.
As to regards to the content, each
file is a standard key file and contains
key/value pairs in one or more groups with each group
representing an authorization entry.
.pkla file MUST be named by using a
scheme to ensure that the name is unique, e.g. reverse DNS
notation or similar. For example, if the organization is
“Acme Corp” needs to modify policy for the
product “Frobnicator”, a name
com.acme.frobnicator.pkla would be
Each group in a
.pkla file must have a name
that is unique within the file it belongs to. The following keys
are are recognized:
A semi-colon separated list of globs to match identities. Each glob
should start with
A semi-colon separated list of globs to match action identifiers.
The result to return for subjects in an active local
session that matches one or more of the given identities.
Allowed values are similar to what can be used in
the defaults section
Like ResultActive but instead applies to subjects in inactive local sessions.
Like ResultActive but instead applies to any subject.
A semi-colon separated list of key/value pairs (of the form key=value) that are added to the details of authorization result on positive matches.
All keys specified above are required except that only at least one of ResultAny, ResultInactive and ResultActive must be present. The ReturnValue key is optional.
When a Mechanism requests services from the Authority to check if a given Subject is authorized for a given Action, the authorization entries discussed above are consulted using the following algorithm.
The authorization entries from all .pkla files are ordered using
the following rules. First all the basename of all
sub-directories (e.g. 30-site.d) from both
directories are enumerated and sorted (using the C locale). If a
name exists in both
/var, the one
/etc takes precedence. Then
.pkla files are read in order from this
list of sub-directories. For each
file, authorizations from each file are appended in order resulting
in an ordered list of authorization entries.
For example, given the following files
/var/lib/polkit-1 └── localauthority ├── 10-vendor.d │ └── 10-desktop-policy.pkla ├── 20-org.d ├── 30-site.d ├── 50-local.d ├── 55-org.my.company.d │ └── 10-org.my.company.product.pkla └── 90-mandatory.d /etc/polkit-1 └── localauthority ├── 10-vendor.d │ └── 01-some-changes-from-a-subvendor.pkla ├── 20-org.d ├── 30-site.d ├── 50-local.d ├── 55-org.my.company.d │ └── 10-org.my.company.product.pkla └── 90-mandatory.d
the evaluation order of the
.pkla files is:
When the list of authorization entries has been calculated, the authorization check can be made. First, the user of the Subject is determined and the groups that the user belongs are looked up. For each group identity, the authorization entries are consulted in order. If the authorization check matches the data from the authorization check, then the authorization result from RequireAny, RequireInactive or RequireActive is used and ReturnValue is added to the authorization result.
Finally, the authorization entries are consulted using the user identity in the same manner.
Note that processing continues even after a match. This allows for socalled “negative authorizations”, see the section called “EXAMPLES” for further discussion.
that any user in the
group can be used for authentication when administrator
authentication is needed. This file would typically be installed
directory and given the
60-desktop-policy.conf to ensure that
it is evaluted after
50-localauthority.conf file shipped
with PolicyKit. If the local administrator wants to override this (suppose
60-desktop-policy.conf was shipped as part of the OS) he can simply create a file
99-my-admin-configuration.conf with the following content
to specify that only the users
marge can authenticate when
administrator authentication is needed.
.pkla file grants
authorization to all users in the
for actions matching the
they are in an active session on the local console:
[Normal Staff Permissions] Identity=unix-group:staff Action=com.example.awesomeproduct.* ResultAny=no ResultInactive=no ResultActive=yes
If the users
grimes are member of
staff group but policy requires that an
administrator needs to authenticate every time authorization for
required, one would add
[Exclude Some Problematic Users] Identity=unix-user:homer;unix-user:grimes Action=com.example.awesomeproduct.* ResultAny=no ResultInactive=no ResultActive=auth_admin
and make sure this authorization entry is after the first one.
Written by David Zeuthen
a lot of help from many others.
Please send bug reports to either the distribution or the polkit-devel mailing list, see the link http://lists.freedesktop.org/mailman/listinfo/polkit-devel on how to subscribe.