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update

1 GLEP: 14
2 Title: security updates based on GLSA
3 Version: $Revision: 1.3 $
4 Last-Modified: $Date: 2003/08/24 22:11:46 $
5 Author: Marius Mauch <genone@genone.de>,
6 Status: Accepted
7 Type: Standards Track
8 Content-Type: text/x-rst
9 Created: 18 Aug 2003
10 Post-History: 22-Aug-2003, 24-Aug-2003, 10-Nov-2003
11
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, verifies its
37 GPG signature, checks if the system is affected by it and executes one of the
38 following actions, depending 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 (update:
56 a QT based editor for the GLSA format written by plasmaroo exists in the
57 gentoo-projects repository). Every GLSA has to be GPG signed by the responsible
58 developer, who has to be a member of the security herd.
59
60
61 GLSA release process
62 --------------------
63
64 Additional to sending the GLSA to the gentoo-announce mailing list it has to be
65 stored on a HTTP/FTP server and in the portage tree. I'd suggest a script should
66 be used to release a GLSA that will:
67
68 - check the GLSA for correctness
69 - sign the GLSA with the developers GPG key
70 - send a mail to gentoo-announce with the XML GLSA and a plaintext version attached
71 - upload it to www.gentoo.org/security/en/glsa (via cvs commit)
72 - put it on the rsync server (via cvs commit)
73 - notify the moderators on the forums to make an announcement
74
75
76 Portage changes
77 ---------------
78
79 Until the `update tool`_ is integrated into portage there will be no code changes
80 to portage. The update tool might require a few new configuration options, these
81 could be placed in make.conf or another config file in /etc/portage.
82
83
84 Rationale
85 =========
86
87 The lack of automated security updates for Gentoo is one of the most often requested
88 features for portage as it is one of the standard features of other distributions.
89 As Gentoo already provides GLSAs for important security bugs it is only natural
90 to use these to implement this feature.
91
92 To parse a GLSA in a program the format needs to be specified and a parser has
93 to be written. I suggest the use of XML for future GLSAs for the following reasons:
94
95 - can be parsed and validated with existing libraries
96 - easy to extend while maintaining backwards compatibility
97 - tools can convert XML GLSAs in other formats, the other direction would be harder
98 - websites can use XSLT to markup GLSAs
99
100 Putting the GLSAs in the portage tree allows all users to check their systems
101 for security updates without taking more actions and simplifies later integration
102 of the update tool into portage. For security minded persons the GLSAs are
103 available on a HTTP server to ease the load of the rsync servers.
104
105 To verify the signatures of the GLSAs the public keys of the developers should be
106 available in the portage tree and on the HTTP server. The verification is necessary
107 to prevent exploits by fake GLSAs.
108
109
110 Implementation
111 ==============
112
113 A prototype implementation (including the update tool, a DTD and a sample
114 XMLified GLSA) exists at http://gentoo.devel-net.org/glsa/ and in the
115 gentoo-projects/gentoo-security/GLSA repository. This GLEP is based
116 on that implementation, though it can be changed or rewritten if necessary.
117
118
119 Backwards compatibility
120 =======================
121
122 The current `GLSA release process`_ needs to be replaced with this proposal. It
123 would be nice if old GLSAs would be transformed into XML as well, but that is
124 not a requirement for this GLEP.
125
126
127 Copyright
128 =========
129
130 This document has been placed in the public domain.

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