Courier-Authlib|Home|Release notes|Installation|Documentation

Table of Contents

In this document (see INSTALL.html for the formatted version of this INSTALL file):


See the README file for a general description of this library. The following software should be installed before building the Courier authentication library:

Courier-authlib uses Libtool to build shared libraries. Libtool must be installed, together with its libltdl library and its header files.

On non-Linux platforms the GNU linker is also required. Courier-authlib's build script uses some GNU linker-specific options. It's possible to manually specify the native linker's equivalent options manually, if they exist. If the native linker does not have the equivalent options, the GNU linker will have to be installed.

On the other hand, GNU make will be required in almost every case. SYSV-derived make variants (probably) will not work.

The same line of logic also applies to gcc. So, strictly speaking, only a basic C compiler, GNU make and libtool, are really needed to build courier-authlib. Still, try the following before giving up if problems occur when building this package:

  1. Install a recent version of the GNU linker
  2. Install the current version of Libtool
  3. Install the current version of gcc

Installation overview

The following sequence of commands should be sufficient to install courier-authlib in most cases:

./configure [options] [variable=value]*...
make install
make install-migrate      # Only if upgrading from pre-authlib Courier packages
make install-configure

NOTE: On the BSD family, GNU make is usually the 'gmake' command. Use the 'gmake' command, instead of 'make'.

NOTE: It might appear that the configure script is stuck in an infinite loop. This is only an optical illusion. The configure script takes several minutes to complete. The Courier authentication library consists of many small modules, each with its own configuration script; and all configuration scripts are built from the same template. When they are invoked, one at a time, an illusion of an infinite loop appears.

Courier-authlib is a requirement starting with the following Courier package versions: Courier 0.48, Courier-IMAP 4.0, SqWebMail 5.0. When upgrading from earlier versions of these packages, install the Courier-authlib package first, then upgrade the existing package.

The 'make install-migrate' command imports the authentication configuration from earlier versions of these packages. 'make install-migrate' is not needed otherwise.

The 'make install-migrate' command searches all the known default installation directories for Courier, Courier-IMAP, and SqWebMail, and imports the older configuration files. If the older versions of these packages are installed in some unusual, non-standard, directories, the make install-migrate command won't find them. Instead, copy those configuration files (authdaemonrc, authldaprc, authmysqlprc, authpgsqlprc, and userdb) by hand. DO NOT COPY authdaemonrc.dist, authldaprc.dist, authmysqlprc.dist, and authpgsqlprc.dist.

After finishing 'make install-migrate', the rest of the installation steps, and after upgrading Courier, Courier-IMAP, or SqWebMail to the new versions, to avoid future confusion the old copies of these configuration files (including the .dist files), should be removed from Courier/Courier-IMAP/SqWebMail's configuration directory. They now live in Courier-authlib's configuration directory (/usr/local/etc/authlib, or whatever was specified to the configure script).

The 'make install-configure' command is required; it installs and updates the configuration files; this command must be executed when installing Courier-authlib for the first time, and when upgrading from an older version.

Configuration options

The configure script takes the usual autoconf options: --prefix, --bindir, and the rest of the usual toolchain options. The default installation directories should be sufficient, though.

DO NOT USE the --disable-static, or --enable-static=no option. Both static and shared library options must be enabled for courier-authlib to build properly (but see "Post-installation cleanup" below).


The default configuration installs development files in /usr/local/include (see "What gets installed", below). This directory is usually in the compiler's search path for header files. This option must be specified if the compiler does NOT search for header files in /usr/local/include by default.

This option must also be specified if other configuration options (such as --prefix or --includedir) specify a different installation directory, and the new directory is also not searched by the compiler, by default

--with-mailuser=userid, --with-mailgroup=groupid

"userid" is a reserved system username, "groupid" is a reserved system groupname. These two options should be used before installing Courier for the first time. These options are not required before installing Courier-IMAP or SqWebMail.

These options specify the user/group that will own the configuration files, and the socket that authentication daemon process listens on. This is a key part of Courier's security model.

These options should not be necessary if upgrading from an earlier version of Courier and/or this authentication library. The default userid and groupid are computed as follows:

When installing Courier authentication library for the first time, it is highly recommended to create a "courier" userid and groupid, so that specifying these options will not be necessary.

This configure script descends from the old authentication library that was included in the older Courier, Courier-IMAP, and SqWebMail packages. As such, it also has many other undocumented options that manually disable specific authentication modules.

These options are no longer officially documented. Individual modules can be disabled after installation, by editing the authdaemonrc configuration file.


Environment variables may be set either before running the configure script, or by providing the environment variables as parameters to the configure script. Example:

./configure --with-mailuser=mail --with-mailgroup=mail \
     CC=/opt/fsf/bin/gcc LDFLAGS=-L/opt/fsf/lib \

The CC environment variable specifies the name of the C compiler that will be used to compile the authentication library. For some reason, on this oddball system some system libraries are installed in /opt/fsf/lib, and the compiler doesn't search this directory by default. Therefore, the compiler needs the "-L/opt/fsf/lib" to properly link all programs, and this option is specified in the LDFLAGS environment variable.

Another possibility is to add the /opt/fsf/bin directory to the PATH environment variable, prior to running the configure script. The configure script searches for all needed software in the current PATH. Explicitly pointing configure to something, like CC, is only needed if the program is not already in the default PATH.

Finally, Courier authentication library must be built with GNU make. On this example system the make command is the old SysV-derived make, which will not work. GNU make is installed here as the "gmake" command. The configure script will ordinarily find the make command and be happy with it, by mistake. Explicitly setting MAKE to gmake fixes that (and the human operator also needs to invoke the gmake command also).


On a minimum, bare-bones system, the Courier authentication library builds support for garden-variety authentication against system accounts (from the system's password file, /etc/passwd).

If the configure script detects that certain optional software components are installed, additional authentication modules will be built and installed. This chapter describes what needs to be installed in order to build the optional authentication modules.

NOTE: In all cases, it is not sufficient to install the runtime support libraries for the following components. In order to build the authentication modules the DEVELOPMENT LIBRARIES for the following software packages must be installed. The development libraries are usually a separate package, that must be installed in addition to the package that adds alleged support for the following software libraries.

What gets installed

Toolchain options to the configure script may be used to select alternative installation directories for these components.

Post-installation cleanup

On most systems, after running make install-configure all static libraries can be removed from the /usr/local/lib/courier-authlib directory:

rm -rf /usr/local/lib/courier-authlib/*.a

The Courier authentication library uses only the shared libraries. The static versions of the shared libraries are not used. They are installed by default, via libtool, but are not really needed. On most platforms the libtool files, "*.la" can also be removed. Do not remove any soft links.

For more information

Following "make install", see the README_authlib.html file for details on setting up the authentication modules. The README_authlib.html file gets assembled as part of the build process.

Before proceding to install any other packages, be sure to verify that the authentication library is working by running the authtest command, as documented in the README_authlib.html file.

Starting and stopping the authentication daemon

The following command must be added to your system startup script, in order to initialize the authentication library when booting:

/usr/local/sbin/authdaemond start

Similarly, the authentication library can be stopped by the "authdaemond stop" command. After editing the authdaemonrc configuration file use "authdaemond restart" command to reconfigure the daemon process. Systems that use SYSV-derived initscripts can use the "courier-authlib.sysvinit" script, which gets built in the source directory, to start and stop authdaemond when the system boots or halts.

Building RPMs

See for instructions on building binary RPMs from the source tarball. Those instructions will work for this package.


RPM will refuse to build the Courier authentication library unless all prerequisite development libraries for LDAP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite are installed. Do not try to hack the RPM build script to ignore these dependencies! For simplicity's and maintainability sake the RPM build script creates all available authentication modules. All extra authentication modules will be built as optional subpackages. They do not have to be installed at runtime. Install the LDAP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite development libraries only for the duration of building binary RPMs. They can be uninstalled afterwards.

Guidelines for using other package managers

The recommended way to build packages can be inferred from the RPM build script. It is summarized here for convenience:

Now, create the installable packages, as follows: