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How to write a client/server conversation function

I am writing a new network server.  It will control an
astronomical telescope and camera.  I would like to use
PAM to control access.  The server will accept many clients
at once but only clients belonging to one user at a time
may do certain operations.  Anyone can do a status at any

Our protocal is socket based.  All users connect via
sockets.  The server has no user interface.  Also we do
not support unsolisited requests from the server to the
client.  All action is initialed by a client.

My question is how to write a converstion function.  The
documentation in /usr/doc and in the rfc is sparce. I
can't simply use a printf() fro the prompt and fgets to
read the password.  What does a converstion function do
in the case of a client/server setup?  The client program
needs to be able to run in a batch mode.  from a script
of maybe from the crontab.  Prompting is out.  I am not
really sure what a converstion function must do.

Is there any way to avoid storing/transmitting the pasword
in the clear?

What should I be readng to learn more? 

   --Chris Albertson             home: chrisja@jps.net        
     Redondo Beach, California   work: chris@topdog.logicon.com

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