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1 GLEP: 14
2 Title: security updates based on GLSA
3 Version: $Revision: 1.4 $
4 Last-Modified: $Date: 2003/11/10 19:21:57 $
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, 25-Oct-2004
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 Status Update
21 =============
22
23 Beta implementation in gentoolkit.
24
25
26 Motivation
27 ==========
28
29 Automatic checking for security updates is a often requested feature for Gentoo.
30 Implementing it will enable users to fix security holes without reading every
31 security announcement. It's also a feature that is often required in enterprise
32 environments.
33
34
35 Proposed change
36 ===============
37
38 Update tool
39 -----------
40
41 The coding part of this GLEP is a update tool that reads a GLSA, verifies its
42 GPG signature, checks if the system is affected by it and executes one of the
43 following actions, depending on user preferences:
44
45 - run all steps necessary to fix the security hole, including package updates and
46 daemon restarts.
47 - instruct the user how to fix the security hole.
48 - print the GLSA so the user can get more information if desired.
49
50 Once this tool is implemented and well tested it can be integrated into portage.
51 A prototype `implementation`_ for this tool exists.
52
53
54 GLSA format
55 -----------
56
57 The GLSA format needs to be specified, I suggest using XML for that to simplify
58 parsing and later extensions. See `implementation`_ for a sample DTD. The format
59 has to be compatible with the update tool of course. If necessary a converter
60 tool or an editor could be written for people not comfortable with XML (update:
61 a QT based editor for the GLSA format written by plasmaroo exists in the
62 gentoo-projects repository). Every GLSA has to be GPG signed by the responsible
63 developer, who has to be a member of the security herd.
64
65
66 GLSA release process
67 --------------------
68
69 Additional to sending the GLSA to the gentoo-announce mailing list it has to be
70 stored on a HTTP/FTP server and in the portage tree. I'd suggest a script should
71 be used to release a GLSA that will:
72
73 - check the GLSA for correctness
74 - sign the GLSA with the developers GPG key
75 - send a mail to gentoo-announce with the XML GLSA and a plaintext version attached
76 - upload it to www.gentoo.org/security/en/glsa (via cvs commit)
77 - put it on the rsync server (via cvs commit)
78 - notify the moderators on the forums to make an announcement
79
80
81 Portage changes
82 ---------------
83
84 Until the `update tool`_ is integrated into portage there will be no code changes
85 to portage. The update tool might require a few new configuration options, these
86 could be placed in make.conf or another config file in /etc/portage.
87
88
89 Rationale
90 =========
91
92 The lack of automated security updates for Gentoo is one of the most often requested
93 features for portage as it is one of the standard features of other distributions.
94 As Gentoo already provides GLSAs for important security bugs it is only natural
95 to use these to implement this feature.
96
97 To parse a GLSA in a program the format needs to be specified and a parser has
98 to be written. I suggest the use of XML for future GLSAs for the following reasons:
99
100 - can be parsed and validated with existing libraries
101 - easy to extend while maintaining backwards compatibility
102 - tools can convert XML GLSAs in other formats, the other direction would be harder
103 - websites can use XSLT to markup GLSAs
104
105 Putting the GLSAs in the portage tree allows all users to check their systems
106 for security updates without taking more actions and simplifies later integration
107 of the update tool into portage. For security minded persons the GLSAs are
108 available on a HTTP server to ease the load of the rsync servers.
109
110 To verify the signatures of the GLSAs the public keys of the developers should be
111 available in the portage tree and on the HTTP server. The verification is necessary
112 to prevent exploits by fake GLSAs.
113
114
115 Implementation
116 ==============
117
118 A prototype implementation (including the update tool, a DTD and a sample
119 XMLified GLSA) exists at http://gentoo.devel-net.org/glsa/ and in the
120 gentoo-projects/gentoo-security/GLSA repository. This GLEP is based
121 on that implementation, though it can be changed or rewritten if necessary.
122
123
124 Backwards compatibility
125 =======================
126
127 The current `GLSA release process`_ needs to be replaced with this proposal. It
128 would be nice if old GLSAs would be transformed into XML as well, but that is
129 not a requirement for this GLEP.
130
131
132 Copyright
133 =========
134
135 This document has been placed in the public domain.

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