8 character password limitation


After installing OS X I set my password to a 10 characters long string. One time, as I accidentally logged in with the last character typed wrong OS X still logged me in. After a bit of trying out, I figured out that OS X limits password length to only 8 characters. Generally it seems that most of the GUI stuff (e.g. the Login Window) just ignores everything after the eigths charachter, while unix apps (passwd, su etc.) only work with my password truncated to eigth characters.
Now, what is the sense of this? Of course eigth characters are a lot and it could be considered secure, but what is the point in limiting the password length?
Any ideas or comments? BTW this phenomenon also exists in the DP4 release.

Mac OS X keeps one user database; it combines the Apple Filing Protocol database (AppleShare Users & Groups) and the Macintosh Management database (Multiple Users).

AppleShare has, and continues to, limit passwords to eight characters in length. (Try it on a Mac OS 9 machine.) Since Apple combined the AppleShare users and Multiple (Login) users into one database, it had to limit the password length to eight-character AppleShare one.

Don't worry; AppleShare 3.8.5 and later (Mac OS 9) always send passwords in encrypted form. Eight characters is sufficient for anybody.

Actually this has little to do with appleshare and everything to do with 99% of unix setups on earth which share the 8 character limit.
Yes, Apple Filing Protocol 3.0 (AppleShare) has adopted these UNIX standards so that Mac OS X can have only one user database for login and Sharing.