For convenience, RPCSEC_GSS uses string literals for representing mechanisms and quality of protection (QOP) parameters. The underlying mechanisms themselves, however, require mechanisms to be represented as object identifiers and QOPs as 32–bit integers. Additionally, for each mechanism, you need to specify the shared library that implements the services for that mechanism.
The /etc/gss/mech file stores the following information on all installed mechanisms on a system: the mechanism name, in ASCII; the mechanism's OID; the shared library implementing the services provided by this mechanism; and, optionally, the kernel module implementing the service. A sample line might look like this:
kerberos_v5 1.2.840.113522.214.171.124 gl/mech_krb5.so gl_kmech_krb5
For all mechanisms installed, the /etc/gss/qop file stores all the QOPs supported by each mechanism, both as an ASCII string and as its corresponding 32–bit integer.
Both /etc/gss/mech and /etc/gss/qop are created when security mechanisms are first installed on a given system.
Many of the in-kernel RPC routines use non-string values to represent mechanism and QOP. Therefore, applications can use the rpc_gss_mech_to_oid() and rpc_gss_qop_to_num() functions to get the non-string equivalents for these parameters, should they need to maximize use of those in-kernel routines.