Moodle has a beautiful, and rich plugin infrastructure, and many plugins have been written to support various authentication requirements over time. Many of these plugins have made it into core and have been part of the official Moodle distribution for many years. Some of these are every-day and used by many, whilst others require more detailed knowledge in addition to servers, and server-side configuration outside of Moodle.
In order to better-serve the general Moodle community, I think that we should be pulling a small selection of these plugins out of the core distribution and handing them back to the community.
There are a few plugins which I have in mind:
- fc - FirstClass. This authentication plugin has not seen a real change since 2009, and we do not possess the necessary testing environments to be able to realistically work with this plugin. Since 2009 a number of changes have been made to this plugin, but almost all of them have been to update it for API changes. None of these changes have been properly tested because of this lack of infrastructure.
- nntp - Network News Transfer Protocol. Last real update was in 2004. I think that, sadly, nntp is a thing of the past. Although NNTP is a freely available service, I can't imagine that anyone is actually using it for Moodle any longer.
- pam - Pluggable Authentication Module. Last real update was in 2007. In reality, I don't feel that this plugin is likely to be used by many. It also requires that both the PECL library for PAM be installed, and that PAM be configured on the server. Given these server-level requirements I don't feel that the burden of installing a plugin from the plugins repository is particularly arduous.
In addition to the above plugins which are rarely-used, there are a couple which are widely used, and which I think would be better managed by the community:
- CAS - Central Authentication Service
Both of these plugins have relatively complex server requirements and in reality we are unable to fully test them during integration. Most, if not all of the contributions to these plugins are from the community. I feel that if we could find someone to take on these plugins outside of core, they may be better attended to, and issues with them addressed more speedily.
I'd be grateful of any thoughts, views, or comments people may have regarding these plugins and their potential migration from core to the community.