May 24, 2003
NTLM the way?
Microsoft's IIS server admins sometimes use the proprietary NTLM authentication method to provide username:password protection for web directories. Sadly, as a non-standard and undocumented scheme, current non-Microsoft browser users can't access directories protected in this manner, which puts a bit of a crimp in your cross-platform testing strategy.
Apparently it is not in Microsoft's interest to use a standards-based method to authenticate non-Microsoft using site visitors, so challengers have reverse-engineered NTLM and are beginning to provide browsers that can authenticate to IIS servers.
Apple's Safari beta speaks NTLM, although not enough to provide domain information. The recently released Mozilla 1.4 beta is the first Mozilla-based browser to support NTLM authentication. The next version of Netscape reported will be based on the Mozilla 1.4 branch, bringing compatibility to a somewhat wider audience.
For an interesting read on the Mozilla project's efforts to implement cross-platform NTLM support, check out the Bugzilla report: NTLM auth for HTTP.
If you have a machine that can run Python, then Dmitry Rozmanov has written a NTLM Authorization Proxy Server that may allow your remaining and legacy browsers to authenticate to such servers. Haven't had a chance to test this myself, but found it referenced in the above Bugzilla report. Sounds like it could be a workaround for when you or your clients just have to use NTLM.Posted by Lewis Francis at May 24, 2003 4:49 PM