Kerberos is a well-known security protocol, originally developed at MIT and has been a major authentication protocol on Windows.
Why would you want to learn about or experiment with Kerberos today, when developing web services ?
One may want to do it if we have a web service which needs to expose the information available from the internal Kerberos-protected store or when a Single Sign-On service needs to use Kerberos servers to keep the principal details or when Kerberos is deemed to be the best authentication protocol which can protect the given complex application exposed as a web service.
The decision by Hadoop developers to support Kerberos will undoubtedly make it more important for developers to understand what Kerberos is about, due to the fact the Big Data is becoming so important these days.
In Apache CXF, Kerberos has been supported on a number of levels for a while. Colm has published a two-part series about the way WS-Security Kerberos is supported and tested in CXF, and Christian has implemented a client-side support for the HTTP Negotiate authorization scheme.
Starting from CXF 2.6.2 (to be released soon), the JAX-RS frontend offers an additional server and client side support for making it very easy to support the Kerberos authentication for RS endpoints and clients.
After installing Kerberos packages, the next thing you can do is to run JAXRSKerberosBookTest or add server and/or client Kerberos handlers to your own application as documented at the wiki and see what actually happens.
Have you been thinking of getting started with Kerberos for Web Services ?
Do it today with Apache CXF :-)