The office proxy used to use BASIC authentication. Which was terrible: transmission was done over clear text. Some years ago, they implemented a new proxy server that was capable of using Kerberos tickets for authentication (actually the old one could have done it too – I’ve set up the Kerberos realm on another implementation of the same product, but it wasn’t a straight forward clickity-click and you’re done). Awesome move, but it did break everything that used the HTTP_PROXY environment variable with creds included (yeah, I have a no-rights account with proxy access and put that in clear text all over the place). I just stopped using wget and curl to download files. I’d pull them to my Windows box, then scp them to the right place. But every once in a while I need a new perl module that’s available from ActiveState’s PPM. I’d have to fetch the tgz file and install it manually.
Until today — I was configuring a new Fiddler installation. Brilliant program – it’s just a web proxy that you can use for debugging purposes, but it can insert itself into HTTPS communications and provide clear text rendering of encrypted sessions too. It also proxies proxy credentials! There’s a config to allow remote hosts to connect – it’s normally bound to 127.0.0.1:8888, but it can bind to 0.0.0.0:8888 as well. If you have your web browser open & visit a site through the proxy server (i.e. you make sure the browser is authenticating fine) … set your HTTP_PROXY to http://127.0.0.1:8888 (or whatever means the specific program uses to configure a proxy). Voila, PPM hits Fiddler. Fiddler relays the request out to the proxy using the Kerberos token on your desktop. Package installs. Lot of overhead just to avoid unzipping a file … but if you are installing a package with a dozen dependencies … well, it’s a lot quicker than failing your install a dozen times and getting the next prereq!