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Kanidm is an identity management platform written in rust. Our goals are:

  • Modern identity management platform
  • Simple to deploy and integrate with
  • Extensible for various needs
  • Correct and secure behaviour by default

Today the project is still under heavy development to achieve these goals - we don't expect a fully functional release before early 2020. It is important to note that not all needed security features of the system have been completed yet!

Code of Conduct

See our code of conduct

Ethics / Rights

See our documentation on rights and ethics

Some key ideas

  • All people should be respected and able to be respresented securely.
  • Devices represent users and their identities - they are part of the authentication.
  • Human error occurs - we should be designed to minimise human mistakes and empower people.
  • The system should be easy to understand and reason about for users and admins.

Quick start

Today the server is still in a state of heavy development, and hasn't been packaged or setup for production usage.

However, we are able to run test or demo servers that are suitable for previews and testing.

After getting the code, you will need a rust environment. Please investigate rustup for your platform to establish this.

Once you have the source code, you need certificates to use with the server. I recommend using let's encrypt, but if this is not possible, please use our insecure cert tool:

mkdir insecure
cd insecure

You can now build and run the server with:

cd kanidm
cargo run -- recover_account -D /tmp/kanidm.db -n admin
cargo run -- server -D /tmp/kanidm.db -C ../insecure/ca.pem -c ../insecure/cert.pem -k ../insecure/key.pem --domain localhost --bindaddr

In a new terminal, you can now build and run the client tools with:

cd kanidm_tools
cargo run -- --help
cargo run -- whoami -H https://localhost:8080 -D anonymous -C ../insecure/ca.pem
cargo run -- whoami -H https://localhost:8080 -D admin -C ../insecure/ca.pem

For more see getting started

Development and Testing

There are tests of various components through the various components of the project. When developing it't best if you test in the component you are working on, followed by the full server tests.

There are no prerequisites to running these tests or special configurations. cargo test should just work!

Using curl with anonymous:

curl -b /tmp/cookie.jar -c /tmp/cookie.jar --cacert ../insecure/ca.pem  -X POST -d "{\"step\":{\"Init\":[\"anonymous\",null]}}"  https://localhost:8080/v1/auth
curl -b /tmp/cookie.jar  -c /tmp/cookie.jar --cacert ../insecure/ca.pem  -X POST -d "{\"step\":{\"Creds\":[\"Anonymous\"]}}"  https://localhost:8080/v1/auth

Implemented/Planned features

  • RBAC design
  • SSH key distribution for servers
  • Pam/nsswitch clients (with limited offline auth)
  • Sudo rule distribution via nsswitch
  • CLI and WebUI for administration
  • OIDC/Oauth
  • Claims (limited by time and credential scope)
  • MFA (Webauthn, TOTP)
  • Highly concurrent desgin (MVCC, COW)
  • Replication (async multiple active write servers, read only servers)
  • Account impersonation
  • RADIUS integration
  • Self service UI with wifi enrollment, claim management and more.
  • Synchronisation to other IDM services

Features we want to avoid

  • Auditing: This is better solved by SIEM software, so we should generate data they can consume.
  • Fully synchronous behaviour: This is slow.
  • Generic database: We don't want to be another NoSQL database, we want to be an IDM solution.
  • Being LDAP/GSSAPI/Kerberos: These are all legacy protocols that are hard to use and confine our thinking - we should avoid "being like them".


See the designs folder

Get involved

To get started, you'll need to fork or branch, and we'll merge based on PR's.

If you are a contributor to the project, simply clone:

git clone

If you are forking, then Fork in github and clone with:

git clone
cd kanidm
git remote add myfork<YOUR USERNAME>/kanidm.git

Select and issue (and always feel free to reach out to us for advice!), and create a branch to start working:

git branch <feature-branch-name>
git checkout <feature-branche-name>

When you are ready for review (even if the feature isn't complete and you just want some advice)

git commit -m 'Commit message' ...
git push <myfork/origin> <feature-branch-name>

If you get advice or make changes, just keep commiting to the branch, and pushing to your branch. When we are happy with the code, we'll merge in github, meaning you can now cleanup your branch.

git checkout master
git pull
git branch -D <feature-branch-name>


If you are asked to rebase your change, follow these steps:

git checkout master
git pull
git checkout <feature-branche-name>
git rebase master

Then be sure to fix any merge issues or other comments as they arise. If you have issues, you can always stop and reset with:

git rebase --abort

Why do I see rsidm references?

The original project name was rsidm while it was a thought experiment. Now that it's growing and developing, we gave it a better project name. Kani is Japanese for "crab". Rust's mascot is a crab. Idm is the common industry term for identity management services. It all works out in the end.

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