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Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:13:10 -0800
From: Matthew Wilcox <>
To: Mickaël Salaün <>
Cc: Mickaël Salaün <>,, Al Viro <>,
	James Morris <>, Jonathan Corbet <>,
	Kees Cook <>,
	Matthew Garrett <>,
	Michael Kerrisk <>,
	Mimi Zohar <>,
	Philippe Trébuchet <>,
	Shuah Khan <>,
	Thibaut Sautereau <>,
	Vincent Strubel <>,
	Yves-Alexis Perez <>,,,,
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH v1 0/5] Add support for O_MAYEXEC

On Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 04:17:29PM +0100, Mickaël Salaün wrote:
> On 13/12/2018 04:02, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> > On Wed, Dec 12, 2018 at 09:17:07AM +0100, Mickaël Salaün wrote:
> >> The goal of this patch series is to control script interpretation.  A
> >> new O_MAYEXEC flag used by sys_open() is added to enable userland script
> >> interpreter to delegate to the kernel (and thus the system security
> >> policy) the permission to interpret scripts or other files containing
> >> what can be seen as commands.
> > 
> > I don't have a problem with the concept, but we're running low on O_ bits.
> > Does this have to be done before the process gets a file descriptor,
> > or could we have a new syscall?  Since we're going to be changing the
> > interpreters anyway, it doesn't seem like too much of an imposition to
> > ask them to use:
> > 
> > 	int verify_for_exec(int fd)
> > 
> > instead of adding an O_MAYEXEC.
> Adding a new syscall for this simple use case seems excessive. I think

We have somewhat less than 400 syscalls today.  We have 20 O_ bits defined.
Obviously there's a lower practical limit on syscalls, but in principle
we could have up to 2^32 syscalls, and there are only 12 O_ bits remaining.

> that the open/openat syscall familly are the right place to do an atomic
> open and permission check, the same way the kernel does for other file
> access. Moreover, it will be easier to patch upstream interpreters
> without the burden of handling a (new) syscall that may not exist on the
> running system, whereas unknown open flags are ignored.

Ah, but that's the problem.  The interpreter can see an -ENOSYS response
and handle it appropriately.  If the flag is silently ignored, the
interpreter has no idea whether it can do a racy check or whether to
skip even trying to do the check.

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