REXECD(8) BSD System Manager's Manual REXECD(8)
rexecd - remote execution server
Rexecd is the server for the rexec(3) routine. The server provides re-
mote execution facilities with authentication based on user names and
Rexecd listens for service requests at the port indicated in the ``exec''
service specification; see services(5). When a service request is re-
ceived the following protocol is initiated:
1. The server reads characters from the socket up to a NUL (`\0') byte.
The resultant string is interpreted as an ASCII number, base 10.
2. If the number received in step 1 is non-zero, it is interpreted as
the port number of a secondary stream to be used for the stderr. A
second connection is then created to the specified port on the
3. A NUL terminated user name of at most 16 characters is retrieved on
the initial socket.
4. A NUL terminated, unencrypted password of at most 16 characters is
retrieved on the initial socket.
5. A NUL terminated command to be passed to a shell is retrieved on the
initial socket. The length of the command is limited by the upper
bound on the size of the system's argument list.
6. Rexecd then validates the user as is done at login time and, if the
authentication was successful, changes to the user's home directory,
and establishes the user and group protections of the user. If any
of these steps fail the connection is aborted with a diagnostic mes-
7. A NUL byte is returned on the initial socket and the command line is
passed to the normal login shell of the user. The shell inherits
the network connections established by rexecd.
Except for the last one listed below, all diagnostic messages are re-
turned on the initial socket, after which any network connections are
closed. An error is indicated by a leading byte with a value of 1 (0 is
returned in step 7 above upon successful completion of all the steps pri-
or to the command execution).
username too long
The name is longer than 16 characters.
password too long
The password is longer than 16 characters.
command too long
The command line passed exceeds the size of the argument list (as
configured into the system).
No password file entry for the user name existed.
The wrong password was supplied.
No remote directory.
The chdir command to the home directory failed.
A fork by the server failed.
The user's login shell could not be started. This message is re-
turned on the connection associated with the stderr, and is not
preceded by a flag byte.
Indicating ``Login incorrect'' as opposed to ``Password incorrect'' is a
security breach which allows people to probe a system for users with null
A facility to allow all data and password exchanges to be encrypted
should be present.
The rexecd command appeared in 4.2BSD.
4.2 Berkeley Distribution June 1, 1994 2