osTicky 2.2 supports two types of user authentication: core Joomla user authentication and authentication by email and ticket number (osTicky authentication plugin must be enabled).
The user must be logged in in order to view his tickets and add messages to ticket thread. Depending on the component's settings (permission tab) site login may be also required to create tickets.
Joomla core authentication is quite straightforward: the currently logged in Joomla user gets access to all tickets created with his email (the email address user provided on Joomla registration). When a logged in user raises a new ticket, "name" and "email" fields are precompiled and readonly on the new ticket form.
If osTicky authentication plugin is installed and enabled (it is done in the installation script by default) a site visitor has another option to login - providing his email as username and ticket number as password. If the ticket is found the user is granted access to the site as a registered user. Please, note: if the email belongs to a core Joomla user he must login with his Joomla username and password. Authentication by ticket number will be refused! The ticket(s) the user can view after logging in by ticket number depend(s) on osTicket setting "show related tickets". If it is set to "yes" the user gets access to all his tickets, otherwise only the ticket with the number used for authentication is shown. In both cases the user can create new tickets (on successfull ticket submission user is re-logged in with the new ticket number, so that he can view the recent ticket's progress right away even if "show related tickets" option is off).
osTicky authentication plugin gives the user an instant access to the site if the email and ticket number provided as credentials are correct. osTicket 1.8 implements another model (sending ticket link by email) but osTicky doesn't. If security concerns are important for you it is recommended that you disable osTicky authentication plugin and make the users to login with their Joomla credentials.
osTicket 1.9 adds important features related with user management. At the moment of this writing osTicky is compatible with 1.9, but has no tools to create osTicket users. Joomla has its own user management system so that site visitors are motivated to register as Joomla users and get all advantages of osTicket user after registration: instant access to all tickets after login.
"Show related tickets" options will disappear in osTicket 1.9 and will always be interpreted as "No" by osTicky. If you are planning to upgrade to osTicket 1.9 advice your site visitors to register accounts in Joomla and to raise new tickets after login (or set tickets "create" permission to "registered" to ensure that the user is logged in when creating a ticket). Registered Joomla users will be able to view all their tickets after successfull login.