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1 g2boojum 1.1 GLEP: 14
2     Title: security updates based on GLSA
3 g2boojum 1.2 Version: $Revision: 1.1 $
4     Last-Modified: $Date: 2003/08/22 15:00:55 $
5 g2boojum 1.1 Author: Marius Mauch <genone@genone.de>,
6     Status: Draft
7     Type: Standards Track
8     Content-Type: text/x-rst
9     Created: 18 Aug 2003
10 g2boojum 1.2 Post-History: 22-Aug-2003
11 g2boojum 1.1
12    
13     Abstract
14     ========
15    
16     There is currently no automatic way to check a Gentoo system for identified
17     security holes or auto-apply security fixes. This GLEP proposes a way to deal
18     with this issue
19    
20    
21     Motivation
22     ==========
23    
24     Automatic checking for security updates is a often requested feature for Gentoo.
25     Implementing it will enable users to fix security holes without reading every
26     security announcement. It's also a feature that is often required in enterprise
27     environments.
28    
29    
30     Proposed change
31     ===============
32    
33     Update tool
34     -----------
35    
36     The coding part of this GLEP is a update tool that reads a GLSA, checks if
37     the system is affected by it and executes one of the following actions, depending
38     on user preferences:
39    
40     - run all steps necessary to fix the security hole, including package updates and
41     daemon restarts.
42     - instruct the user how to fix the security hole.
43     - print the GLSA so the user can get more information if desired.
44    
45     Once this tool is implemented and well tested it can be integrated into portage.
46     A prototype `implementation`_ for this tool exists.
47    
48    
49     GLSA format
50     -----------
51    
52     The GLSA format needs to be specified, I suggest using XML for that to simplify
53     parsing and later extensions. See `implementation`_ for a sample DTD. The format
54     has to be compatible with the update tool of course. If necessary a converter
55     tool or an editor could be written for people not comfortable with XML.
56    
57    
58     GLSA release process
59     --------------------
60    
61     Additional to sending the GLSA to the gentoo-announce mailing list it has to be
62     stored on a HTTP/FTP server and in the portage tree. I'd suggest a script should
63     be used to release a GLSA that will:
64    
65     - check the GLSA for correctness
66     - send a mail to gentoo-announce with the XML GLSA and a plaintext version attached
67     - upload it to www.gentoo.org/glsa (or wherever they should be uploaded)
68     - put it on the rsync server
69     - notify the moderators on the forums to make an announcement
70    
71    
72     Portage changes
73     ---------------
74    
75     Until the `update tool`_ is integrated into portage there will be no code changes
76     to portage. The update tool might require a few new configuration options, these
77     could be placed in make.conf or another config file in /etc/portage.
78    
79    
80     Rationale
81     =========
82    
83     The lack of automated security updates for Gentoo is one of the most often requested
84     features for portage as it is one of the standard features of other distributions.
85     As Gentoo already provides GLSAs for important security bugs it is only natural
86     to use these to implement this feature.
87    
88     To parse a GLSA in a program the format needs to be specified and a parser has
89     to be written. I suggest the use of XML for future GLSAs for the following reasons:
90    
91     - can be parsed and validated with existing libraries
92     - easy to extend while maintaining backwards compatibility
93     - tools can convert XML GLSAs in other formats, the other direction would be harder
94     - websites can use XSLT to markup GLSAs
95    
96     Putting the GLSAs in the portage tree allows all users to check their systems
97     for security updates without taking more actions and simplifies later integration
98     of the update tool into portage. For security minded persons the GLSAs are
99     available on a HTTP server to ease the load of the rsync servers.
100    
101    
102     Implementation
103     ==============
104    
105     A prototype implementation (including the update tool, a DTD and a sample
106     XMLified GLSA) exists at http://gentoo.devel-net.org/glsa/ . This GLEP is based
107     on that implementation, though it can be changed or rewritten if necessary.
108     According to portage developers there is also already some support for this in
109     portage.
110    
111    
112     Backwards compatibility
113     =======================
114    
115     The current `GLSA release process`_ needs to be replaced with this proposal. It
116     would be nice if old GLSAs would be transformed into XML as well, but that is
117     not a requirement for this GLEP.
118    
119    
120     Copyright
121     =========
122    
123     This document has been placed in the public domain.

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