SELinux and third party installers

Daniel J Walsh dwalsh at
Fri Dec 31 03:52:02 UTC 2004

Mike Hearn wrote:

>I have a couple of questions. The first is that in the FC3 targetted
>policy, it appears that ldconfig cannot write to user_home_t directories.
>Why is this? It appears to be a restriction with no purpose, and some
>programs rely on this to work. In fact I see from the archives that
>ldconfig not being able to write or search certain directories has come up
>The second question is what impact SELinux will have on third party
>installers. It seems from the nVidia thread that currently if you copy
>files onto the system using "cp", this is the wrong way to do it and it
>will break peoples SELinux setups. This surely cannot be correct: that'd
>break every pretty much every third party installer (eg Loki Setup,
>etc) out there!
Yes install and rpm are the only options right now.  Not sure how dpkg 
works on debian.
Your other option is to use cp and the run restorecon.

The problem is similar to DAC, in that you have to specify the file 
context associated with the file, the same
way you need to specify file permission for Descretionary Access 
Control.  In most cases the default behavior is
that the file picks up the protection of the directory that you are 
copying into.  Or the context of the file you are replacying.
The problem is that sometimes file like share libraries need a different 
file context (shlib_t)
than the directory they are being copied to (lib_t).  RPM and now 
install have the smarts to handle this.  mv and cp do not.
And it is arguable that they shouldn't.  Imagine using cp/mv to copy a 
sensitive piece of data. If they changed the context without you knowing
they could allow the sensitive data to be exposed.

>If this is the case and this rather questionable decision is not reversed,
>is using "install" the correct way to go about things on *every* SELinux
>enabled distro, or is that a Fedora custom thing? It's a bit worrying how
>much Fedora SELinux seems to differ from upstream, is this something that
>will get better with time?
What do you base this on?  Fedora is where most of the SELinux 
development has been going on.

>thanks -mike
>fedora-selinux-list mailing list
>fedora-selinux-list at

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