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32.2 Reading Passwords

When reading in a password, it is desirable to avoid displaying it on
the screen, to help keep it secret.  The following function handles this
in a convenient way.

 -- Function: char * getpass (const char *PROMPT)
     `getpass' outputs PROMPT, then reads a string in from the terminal
     without echoing it.  It tries to connect to the real terminal,
     `/dev/tty', if possible, to encourage users not to put plaintext
     passwords in files; otherwise, it uses `stdin' and `stderr'.
     `getpass' also disables the INTR, QUIT, and SUSP characters on the
     terminal using the `ISIG' terminal attribute (*note Local Modes::).
     The terminal is flushed before and after `getpass', so that
     characters of a mistyped password are not accidentally visible.

     In other C libraries, `getpass' may only return the first
     `PASS_MAX' bytes of a password.  The GNU C library has no limit, so
     `PASS_MAX' is undefined.

     The prototype for this function is in `unistd.h'.  `PASS_MAX'
     would be defined in `limits.h'.

   This precise set of operations may not suit all possible situations.
In this case, it is recommended that users write their own `getpass'
substitute.  For instance, a very simple substitute is as follows:

     #include <termios.h>
     #include <stdio.h>

     my_getpass (char **lineptr, size_t *n, FILE *stream)
       struct termios old, new;
       int nread;

       /* Turn echoing off and fail if we can't. */
       if (tcgetattr (fileno (stream), &old) != 0)
         return -1;
       new = old;
       new.c_lflag &= ~ECHO;
       if (tcsetattr (fileno (stream), TCSAFLUSH, &new) != 0)
         return -1;

       /* Read the password. */
       nread = getline (lineptr, n, stream);

       /* Restore terminal. */
       (void) tcsetattr (fileno (stream), TCSAFLUSH, &old);

       return nread;

   The substitute takes the same parameters as `getline' (*note Line
Input::); the user must print any prompt desired.