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Single Sign-On in the box with SLED10: CASA

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Michel Bluteau

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Posted: 14 Sep 2006
 

This article is to quickly introduce CASA, which stands for Common Authentication Service Adapter, which is part of SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. For those who have been using Novell Single Sign-On or Securelogin in the past, CASA offers similar functionalities, including the capability to Single Sign-On users to Desktop applications and Web sites, and also to interact with a directory for storing and retrieving secrets.

This document is not an extensive technical review but just a quick introduction, and I encourage you to take a look at the Reference guide for more information:

http://forgeftp.novell.com//casa/docs/CASA%20Reference%20Guide/CASA_Reference_Guide.pdf

If you install SLED 10 with default options and the Gnome Desktop, you can access CASA manager through the Gnome user-friendly menu:

Figure 1: Accessing CASA Manager.

The first time you access CASA Manager, you will be taken to YaST to enable CASA and you will need to select a master password.

Figure 2: YaST under Security and Users now includes an icon for CASA.

Figure 3: The CASA icon in YaST allows you to either Configure CASA, or to cancel you CASA configuration.

When configuring CASA, you also need to select a master password.

Figure 4: CASA window for changing the Master Password. When configuring CASA, the Current Master Password field is not shown.

Figure 5: The CASA Manager interface, showing the Secrets for the Desktop, Desktop applications, and web sites.

My CASA Manager(see above) shows tabs for Firefox and GNOME Keyring, which enables Single Sign-On for Gnome desktop apps. You can enable support for Firefox, GNOME Keyring, or KDE Wallet, which greatly extends the number of Sign-Ons managed by CASA, by selecting Preferences under Options.

Figure 6: CASA window for enabling supported Stores, accessed through Preferences under Options.

Figure 7: The Firefox store managed through CASA.

Figure 8: The GNOME Keyring store managed by CASA.

The above Figure shows a Samba share called public hosted on a SLES server, for which Single Sign-On has been enabled. You can configure SSO for VNC(top entry), Windows shares, SSH, and other apps under Options, Application SSO, and then Network Manager.

Figure 9: Configuring a secret for a Windows share for Network Manager or Nautilus.

Figure 10: Once added to CASA(GNOME Keyring) you don't have to provide the username and password for accessing Windows(or Samba) shares.

Figure 11: Minimal information needs to be provided, the username and password will be retrieved from the GNOME Keyring store.

If you access a web site with Firefox that requires authentication, and enter your credentials, CASA detect the condition automatically, and present you a window that allows you to SSO enable the web site, and even log you in automatically.

Figure 12: CASA pop-up window for a secure web site.

CASA includes other options like the possibility to link secrets together, to lock secrets, to integrate the desktop secret for non-root users, etc. There is also a version for Windows available from the Wiki page. CASA is built using Mono or .NET, so it is portable, and it is Open Source.

The Windows version is somewhat limited in comparison with the Linux version. It provides integration with Firefox, but does not support Internet Explorer, and offers limited support for desktop applications.

For both Linux and Windows, it is possible to integrate applications like Novell GroupWise and the Novell Client. A Development Kit is available to CASA-enable other applications.

Figure 13: Wiki page for CASA, http://developer.novell.com/wiki/index.php/Casa.

Figure 14: Reference Guide download page.

Figure 15: Reference Guide, which covers administration and usage of CASA for Linux and Windows.

Personally I have been using CASA on my desktop(SLED10) for the past few weeks, and I really enjoy it. It allows me to save secrets for web sites which usually don't allow Firefox to save, and it saves me a lot of time when I need to connect to my Samba shares at my home office.

And don't forget, CASA is free, is easy to install, and is even included in the box with SLED10.

I hope this quick overview will convince you to explore CASA by allowing you to get started quickly, find the right spot for more info(the Wiki page) and appreciate the value that it can add to your desktop.

Don't hesitate to send me questions, feedback, or even additional tricks and tips you discover while exploring CASA.

Thanks.


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