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From David Jencks <>
Subject Question about default subject in tomcat integration
Date Wed, 04 Jan 2006 22:40:11 GMT
In GeronimoStandardContext this is the code that sets up the  

                 //This is definitely a hack, but I don't see a  
reasonable way to install the defaultSubject.
                 //Obviously this won't work if there are  
permissions.  Setting the default subject if there are
                 //permissions breaks authentication.
                 boolean hasPermissions = securityHolder.getChecked 
().elements().hasMoreElements() ||
                 Valve defaultSubjectValve;
                 if (!hasPermissions && defaultSubject != null) {
                     defaultSubjectValve = new DefaultSubjectValve 
                 } else {
                     //this will clear the thread of any read subject  
added by some other web app
                     defaultSubjectValve = new DefaultSubjectValve 

In DefaultSubjectValve, the operative code is:

     public void invoke(Request request, Response response) throws  
IOException, ServletException {
         boolean setSubject = ContextManager.getCurrentCaller() == null;
         if (setSubject) {
             try {
                 getNext().invoke(request, response);
             } finally {
         } else {
             getNext().invoke(request, response);

This doesn't make any sense to me.  If  
DefaultSubjectValve.defaultSubject is null, then DefaultSubjectValve  
will clear nextCaller if currentCaller is null, otherwise do  
nothing.  I doubt this is critical functionality.  However, it  
appears to me that the code in GeronimoStandardContext that sets  
DefaultSubjectValve.defaultSubject to null if the web app has checked  
constraints appears to me to prevent the default subject from being  
set for that portion of the app that is unsecured, which is where I  
thought it was important.

Could someone explain just how always using the actual defaultSubject  
breaks authentication?

david jencks

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