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

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