Extras Security Policy

Greg DeKoenigsberg gdk at redhat.com
Thu Sep 8 13:49:22 UTC 2005


I'm in London next month, and I'll be meeting with Mark Cox to brainstorm 
some potential solutions to this issue.  And we all know it's a big issue, 
but Warren's analysis is entirely correct.


_____________________  ____________________________________________
  Greg DeKoenigsberg ] [ the future masters of technology will have
 Community Relations ] [ to be lighthearted and intelligent.  the
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2005, Warren Togami wrote:

> Hans de Goede wrote:
> > 
> > Besides that we need a clear security policy to be written and approved
> > by fesco:
> > 
> > We really need an FE security team which wathces over FE's security 
> > aspects.
> Generally everyone agrees about "need" ...
> > 
> > I'm in no way volunteering todo any of the work this will cause, not 
> > because I don't want to, but because I don't have the time.
> > 
> but security is *hard* for volunteers to do.  Nobody is accountable 
> because it isn't their job responsibility.  Volunteers generally do the 
> "fun" things first, and sometimes one-time harder problems.  This does 
> not describe what it takes to maintain eternal vigilance necessary of 
> people focused on security in the long-term.  I am talking here of 
> realistic expectations of volunteer capability.
> http://lwn.net/Articles/149976/
> The referenced LWN security article writer was surprised by Debian's 
> slowest response time to security issues, and while they were impressed 
> by Fedora and other company supported distribution support times, they 
> were concerned about community maintained distros like Extras.  This is 
> indicative of the ability of volunteer groups to adequately deal with 
> security.
> (The example that they used of Clamav however was strange, in that 
> Extras actually did do a decent job of quickly upgrading to 0.86.2 after 
> the advisory was released.)
> It is problematic to say "We really need an FE security team" but also 
> say, "I'm in no way volunteering todo any of the work".  This too is 
> indicative of realistic capabilities and expectations of volunteers.
> There are things that we can do like improve the package review 
> guidelines for security aspects like you suggested.  This is a good 
> first step, because it means everyone in a little way is responsible for 
> security.  "Many eyes."
> There are some technical challenges here that we need to deal with like 
> the user accounts in packages.  After years of loud yelling, we still 
> have not come to any consensus about users used by packaged services. 
> The current way relied upon by Core packages is broken and unscalable 
> because it relies on a finite small set of userid's.   Arbitrary 
> packages can easily clash, or we could simply run out of numbers. 
> Enrico tried to address this with the fedora-usermgmt* stuff, but nobody 
> understands it and some have actively removed its usage from packages. 
> The packaged user problem is something that we need to come to consensus 
> on if we are going to move forward with unambiguous written policy.
> Unambiguous written policy is the key here.
> Warren Togami
> wtogami at redhat.com
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