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Re: Networking and the firewall (Was Re: Isn't it time for the encrypted file system???)



On Thu, 2006-03-30 at 17:26 -0500, Matthew Miller wrote:
> > However, it's all work in progress at the point and since it's rather
> > complex and deals with privilege escalation I've started writing a spec
> > how all this is supposed to work. I'm not done yet with the spec.. but
> > this is how far I've got
> >  http://webcvs.freedesktop.org/*checkout*/hal/PolicyKit/doc/spec/polkit-spec.html
> 
> Okay, so no switching users at all. That looks pretty cool. I see "For
> details (like what user to authenticate as) see XXX" -- it'd make me very
> happy if XXX could include things like "for members of a given group, allow
> auth-as-self" (as consolehelper currently does).

Well, I'm sure that auth-as-self just because you are in a specific
group is the answer here. Basically the thinking right now for PolicyKit
is that this is defined on a per-privilege basis and we ship the OS with
some sane defaults and the admin can change this later.

So, for a given privilege (which, down the road, will include "changing
the computer date/time", "mounting fixed disks", "use a webcam",
"configure networking", "update OS with signed packages", "install
signed software", "install unsigned software") the thinking is that the
privilege in question specifies

 - if not authorized you auth either as yourself or as root

 - whether you may keep the privilege (for one time pain dialogs)

 - whether you may grant this privilege to other users (for one time
   pain dialogs)

and that's basically it...

One thing I may introduce later is the notion of "privilege profiles",
e.g. the system can be put in e.g. the following profiles

 - Locked Down (everything requires auth)
 - Workstation  (most things locked down, for example setting date
                 and mounting removable drives requires auth)
 - Laptop (Most things not locked down, console users may set the
           time/date/timezone, mount both fixed and removable drives,
           update the OS with signed packages etc. without auth)
 - Unrestricted - (few things require auth; maybe not a good idea
                   to include this at all)

and a user goes into one of these profiles. I think that may solve what
you need?

Anyho, the nice thing is that the upstream packages using PolicyKit may
define this policy themselves. For example, the GNOME clock applet
authors would define policy (e.g. what is require to change the
time/date/ timezone) for each of these profiles and I do think upstream
is in a position to make such decisions better than a downstream
distributor since they obviously are more familiar with the subject
matter...
(of course... a vendor like Fedora can always override this policy in
the Fedora RPM).. 

But right now "privilege profiles" will only complicate the picture so
I'm waiting a bit with these. But down the road I think this is what
we're gonna if I can convince people (have to sell this to both upstream
projects like GNOME, KDE and downstream like Fedora and other distros)
that PolicyKit is a good idea...  We'll see :-)

One step at a time...

    David


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