Argus Quick Start: Site Policy Setup

Policy Basics

A site’s policies are maintained using the command pap-admin. Initially the PAP contains an empty policy for the site so no one will be permitted to do anything. The command

pap-admin list-policies

lists policies, in the simplified policy language notation, currently active in the PAP.

The policies you add will be evaluated from most to least recent and the first policy that matches is the result returned by Argus. So, if you added a policy that would deny a user and then added one that would permit the user the result of an authorization request will be permit since the permit policy is most recent. While not covered here, the exhaustive PAP command line interface reference provides information for how to re-order policies.

To begin, you will need to create permit policies, for individuals users, VOs, and FQANs, which reflect your site’s access policy. Each of the commands listed require a resource ID and action ID which are deployment and application specific, respectively. These ID were described in the introduction to the Argus system. For the purposes of this quick-start we’ll use as the resource ID and as the action ID. At this point you do not need to worry about what the correct values would be for a production deployment.


As you change policies you will need to restart the PDP in order to force it to reread the policy from the PAP. It would do this by default but only after a couple of hours. Restarting forces it do this immediately.

Permit by User


pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "RESOURCE_ID" --action "ACTION_ID" dn="USER_DN"

The provided USER_DN must be in the RFC2253 standard form, not the proprietary format used by OpenSSL by default. To get the standard form of the DN you can use the command

openssl x509 -noout -nameopt RFC2253 -subject -in CERT_PATH

Here’s an example that permits a user identified by their DN:

pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "" --action "" dn="CN=John Smith,OU=Standard Commercial Certificate,O=SWITCH,L=Zuerich,ST=Zuerich,C=CH"

Permit by VO


pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "RESOURCE_ID" --action "ACTION_ID" vo="VO"

The name of a VO is the string that appears between, but no including, the first two forward slashes (‘/’) of an FQAN.

Here’s an example that permits a user identified by their VO:

pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "" --action "" vo="atlas"

Permit by Primary FQAN


pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "RESOURCE_ID" --action "ACTION_ID" pfqan="FQAN"

The provided FQAN must be in full canonical (long) form (e.g. /atlas/Role=Production/Capability=NULL or /atlas/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL). You may use Java regular expression in this string.

Here’s an example that permits a user identified by their primary FQAN:

pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "" --action "" pfqan="/atlas/Role=Production/.*"

Permit by Secondary FQAN


pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "RESOURCE_ID" --action "ACTION_ID" fqan="FQAN"

The provided FQAN must be in full canonical (long) form (e.g. /atlas/Role=Production/Capability=NULL or /atlas/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL). You may use Java regular expression in this string.

Here’s an example that permits a user identified by their secondary FQAN:

pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "" --action "" pfqan="/atlas/higgs/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL"

Explicit Banning

At times you may wish to deny a specific user, FQAN, or VO. As you may have guessed by looking at the commands above, you can create deny policies by changing the permit argument to deny.

Here are some examples:

pap-admin add-policy deny --resource "" --action "" pfqan="/atlas/higgs/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL"

pap-admin add-policy deny --resource "" --action "" vo="cms"

Removing Policies

The command

pap-admin remove-policy POLICY_ID

will remove an existing policy from the PAP. The POLICY_ID is the ID for the policy shown by the command

pap-admin list-policies --show-all-ids

Loading and Testing Policies

Now that you have some basic policy commands you should experiment with creating and testing policies.

To test the policies you can use the command pepcli. This debugging tool can be used in two different ways. First you can supply it the certificate of a user or you can mock up a request by specifying a subject DN and primary and second FQANs. See the pepcli documentation for complete list of options or use the examples below.

This command provides the result that the user, represented by the given certificate, would receive:

pepcli --pepd ! --resourceid "" --actionid "" --certchain CERT_PATH

The certificate may be an end-entity certificate, a plain proxy certificate, or a proxy certificate with VOMS extensions.

This command allows you to create a request containing a specific user DN, primary FQAN (the first one listed), and secondary FQANs (subsequent ones listed):

pepcli --pepd ! --resourceid "" --actionid ""  --subjectid USER_DN --fqan PRIMARY_FQAN --fqan SECONDARY_FQAN --fqan SECONDARY_FQAN

So, for example add a policy to allows people with the primary FQAN of /atlas/higgs/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL to be permitted using the following command

pap-admin add-policy permit --resource "" --action "" pfqan="/atlas/higgs/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL"

Then test the policy using the pepcli command

pepcli --pepd ! --resourceid "" --actionid ""  --subjectid  "CN=John Smith,OU=Standard Commercial Certificate,O=SWITCH,L=Zuerich,ST=Zuerich,C=CH" --fqan "/atlas/higgs/Role=NULL/Capability=NULL"

The result should be a permit.

Cleaning Up

Before you go further be sure to clean out of your test policies from the PAP. You do this by removing select policies as shown above or you may use the command

pap-admin remove-all-policies

to remove all policies from the PAP. Be sure to restart your PDP as well so that it picks up your new policy set.


You are now done with this quick-start guide. At this point you should have a functioning Argus service and be able to add/remove basic policies from your site. It is recommended that you