/[gentoo]/xml/htdocs/proj/en/glep/glep-0012.txt
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1 GLEP: 12
2 Title: Gentoo.org Finger Daemon
3 Version: $Revision: 1.1 $
4 Last-Modified: $Date: 2003/08/11 14:32:44 $
5 Author: Tavis Ormandy <taviso@gentoo.org>
6 Status: Rejected
7 Type: Standards Track
8 Created: 10-Aug-2003
9 Post-History: 11-Aug-2003
10
11 Reason for rejection
12 ====================
13
14 Information about Gentoo development is already significantly fragmented.
15 Although this GLEP has its merits, the fact that it is a separate source
16 of information, rather than simply another conduit to existing sources
17 of information, poses more problems than it solves. Were this GLEP to
18 be resubmitted/modified so that finger was nothing more than an interface
19 into existing sources of information, it would probably be accepted.
20
21
22 Abstract
23 ========
24
25 The finger protocol is documented in rfc742 [1]_ and rfc1196 [2]_, a simple
26 protocol that returns a human readable report about a particular user
27 of the system. Typically, the information returned will be details such as
28 full name, location, etc. These details are entirely optional and are obtained
29 from the system passwd file, which of course can be edited or removed with the
30 standard chfn(1) [3]_ command.
31
32 The finger daemon will also return the contents of three files from the users home
33 directory, should they exist and be readable.
34
35
36 * ~/.project - which should contain information about the project currently being worked on.
37 * ~/.plan - which might contain work being done or a TODO style list.
38 * ~/.pgpkey - which would contain a PGP/GnuPG [4]_ public key block.
39
40 The finger protocol is mature, secure and widely used in the UNIX community.
41 There are clients available for all major operating systems, and web-based
42 clients for those that dont.
43
44 Motivation
45 ==========
46
47 Gentoo developers are already aware of the importance of User Relations [9]_ .
48
49 It is essential to keep the community up to date with current goals, status
50 updates, and information from the development team. Currently it is suggested
51 users track mailing lists, monitor the Gentoo bugzilla, developer IRC
52 channels and cvs commits.
53
54 While the resources to track developer progress and activity are made
55 available to users, they are not in a form usable to many people. Keeping
56 track of development is a tedious challenge, even for developers. For
57 non-technical users wishing to track the progress of a developer, using
58 mailing lists and bugzilla may not be a practical option.
59
60 Developers may also need a way to quickly find out the progress or activity of
61 other developers, different time zones sometimes makes it difficult for
62 developers to catch each other on IRC, and making already high-volume mailing
63 lists even more cluttered with status updates is not desirable.
64
65 A method that would allow individual developers to keep a log of their
66 activities and plans that were instantly accesible to anyone who was
67 interested would be desirable, I propose running a finger daemon on
68 gentoo.org, or dev.gentoo.org and forwarding requests there from gentoo.org.
69
70 Running a developer finger daemon would improve inter developer communication,
71 user communication and relations, and reduce workload on developers who have to
72 respond to queries from users on project status updates.
73
74 In the future, it is foreseen that portage will require a cryptographically
75 secure means of verifying ebuilds aquired from an rsync mirror are identical
76 to those checked into the portage tree by a developer [10]_ . Making developer keys
77 available to users for manually checking the integrity of files, or patches
78 sent to them is important. It has long been known that encouraging the
79 use of gpg among developers is desirable [5]_ .
80
81 Should a security vulnerability of a serious nature ever be reported,
82 standard procedure [6]_ is to inform vendors before releasing the information
83 to full disclosure security discussion lists. Making the relevant maintainer's
84 key easily obtainable will allow reporters to encrypt their reports.
85
86 Rationale
87 =========
88
89 Providing a finger daemon will allow users to instantly access information on
90 developers, and all details of that developers current projects that they decide
91 to share.
92
93 GPG keys for all developers will be instantly availble, and the output of the
94 finger devname@gentoo.org command can be piped into gpg --import to instantly
95 add it to the users keyring.
96
97 The following projects use finger for user-developer communications,::
98
99 Latest kernel releases, and developer information.
100 $ finger @kernel.org
101
102 Developers and organisers are encouraged to keep .plans about their
103 activity.
104 $ finger nugget@distributed.net
105
106 Latest NASA news, and information from engineers.
107 $ finger nasanews@space.mit.edu
108
109 Slackware developers.
110 $ finger volkerdi@slackware.com
111
112 FreeBSD developers.
113 $ finger nakai@freebsd.org
114
115 Implementation and Security
116 ===========================
117
118 Some admins are concerned about the security of running a finger daemon on their
119 machines, the class of security issues involved with the finger protocol are
120 commonly referred to as "information leaks" [7]_.
121
122 This means an attacker may be able to use a finger daemon to identify valid
123 accounts on their target, which they would then try to obtain access to.
124
125 This scenario does not apply to this implementation, as the gentoo developer
126 names are already well publicised. [8]_
127
128 No security issues have ever been reported with the fingerd available in gentoo
129 portage. Finger is used worldwide by universities, unix systems, and development
130 projects.
131
132 Adding dummy users, will be trivial and allow projects such as gentoo-docs,
133 gentoo-alpha, gentoo-ppc, etc to maintain .plans and .projects. This will allow
134 the projects to maintain more technical details or status updates not suitable
135 for their project webpages.
136
137 Adding data to a plan is a lot simpler than updating webpages.
138
139 Example Query
140 =============
141
142 Should a user want information about the author, this might be the output of
143 a finger query::
144
145 $ finger taviso@gentoo.org
146 Login: taviso Name: Tavis Ormandy
147 Directory: /home/taviso Shell: /bin/bash
148 Last login: dd-mmm-yyyy
149 Mail last read dd-mmm-yyy
150 Project:
151
152 Currently working on implementing XXX, and porting XXX to XXX.
153
154 Plan:
155
156 dd-mmm-yyyy
157
158 Investigating bug #12345, testing patch provided in #12236
159
160 Write documentation for new features in XXX.
161
162 dd-mmm-yyyy
163
164 Contact acmesoft regarding license for xxx in portage.
165
166 PGP Key:
167
168 -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
169 Version: GnuPG v1.2.1 (Linux)
170 (...)
171 -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
172
173 References
174 ==========
175
176 .. [1] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc0742.txt
177 .. [2] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1196.txt
178 .. [3] http://www.gentoo.org/dyn/pkgs/sys-apps/shadow.xml
179 .. [4] http://www.gnupg.org
180 .. [5] <20030629040521.4316b135.seemant@gentoo.org>
181 .. [6] http://www.oisafety.org/process.html
182 .. [7] http://search.linuxsecurity.com/cgi-bin/htsearch?words=information%20leak
183 .. [8] http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/devlist.xml
184 .. [9] http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/devrel/user-relations.xml
185 .. [10] http://www.gentoo.org/news/en/gwn/20030407-newsletter.xml
186
187 Copyright
188 =========
189
190 This document is released under the Open Publications License.

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