NetAuth provides all the authentication and authorization information to systems within Void's managed fleet. NetAuth is an open source project with a website at

Full documentation and usage information for NetAuth can be found at


Void's deployment has a NetAuth server hosted on a dedicated VM which uses certificates from the Void CA for transport security. The server is configured to use the ProtoDB storage engine and is backed up regularly by manual action. Automatic backups are not deemed necessary at this time since the information changes infrequently.

The primary NetAuth server can be reached at on port 8443 and uses TLS for all connections.

Remote Linux Systems

Linux systems that need to derive authentication and authorization information are configured to use a combination of pam_netauth and nsscache to provide required services. The authentication information is cached to local systems on use by the PAM Policycache and refreshed periodically. The grooup and authorization information is cached every 30 minutes to disk on all machines. Keys for systems such as SSH are requested on-demand via a helper binary netkeys which does not perform any caching.

While less than ideal, Void could operate for an extended period of time without the primary NetAuth server running.

Basic Administration

NetAuth uses a capability based system for administration of itself. Members of group dante have permissions to make changes on behalf of other users and generally should be the only people making changes to the directory.

Adding a New User

When adding a new user make sure to specify the username and number to ensure the number is in the range that will be cached by nsscached.

$ netauth new-entity --ID <username> --number <number>

Making an entity a valid shell user

Shell users have additional required attributes, these can be set seperately:

$ netauth modify-meta --ID <username> --primary-group netusers --shell /bin/bash

For all users the primary group should be netusers and the shell should generally be /bin/bash. Additional fields may be set as needed.

Adding an entity to a group

Groups are used to gate access to all resources across the fleet. For example to add a new build operator who can unwedge the buildslaves, the following command sets the appropriate groups:

$ netauth entity-membership --ID <username> --group build-ops --action add

Adding and removing SSH keys

Adding and removing SSH keys is done with the netauth command. The default type of key is SSH. When adding and removing keys the key content needs to be quoted to avoid splitting by the shell. When removing keys the server will match keys on substrings, so technically the key comment should be sufficient to remove it if it is unique.

$ netauth modify-keys --ID <username> --mode ADD --key "<key>"