What is "digest"?

The Internet Engineering Task Force defines in RFC 2617 two authentication methods for HTTP: "basic" and "digest". The main advantage of digest over basic is the password is never transmitted in clear over the wire

Although originally intended for HTTP, thanks to Pluggable Authentication Modules it is possible to use any type of authentication in any application.

The Digest Software Project develops three libraries:

What are the latest versions?

Although developed by the same author, each library has its own lifecycle:

Is this actually useful? What for?

Yes, this is actually useful. For instance, you could have your webserver and your FTP server use the same digest-passwords file. Please note if you want to use basic authentication, you need libpam-pwdfile.

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