Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 16:11:51 -0800
From: Greg KH <>
To: Dan Rosenberg <>
Cc:, Kees Cook <>
Subject: Re: Vendor-sec hosting and future of closed lists

On Thu, Mar 03, 2011 at 06:59:20PM -0500, Dan Rosenberg wrote:
> Hi all,
> >
> > Then, as I have always said, someone needs to step up and actually do
> > this type of communication work.  I personally don't have the time to, I
> > am swamped with just getting the stable updates out in a semi-timely
> > fashion.  Digging through every patch in these releases and properly
> > conveying the real, or percieved reason why they are needed, is a lot of
> > thankless work.  Jon at tried it for just one release, and we
> > are averaging about one a week (total number of kernels released that
> > is).  No one else has yet tried to do that, but if they will, I will be
> > _glad_ to point my release notifications at that summary.
> >
> > So in other words, help is gladly accepted :)
> >
> Rather than requiring individuals to perform substantial amounts of
> digging through patches, which I agree is infeasible, perhaps it would
> be more reasonable to establish a general policy that bug reporters
> and maintainers can use to work with distro security teams and the
> rest of the security community.
> For example, a public or private list could be established for all
> *potential* kernel security issues, and just as is the case with
> CC'ing stable, a policy could be developed where maintainers are
> expected to CC this list for fixes that might possibly have security
> relevance, with a tendency towards erring on the safe side if security
> impact is unclear.

This proposal just fell down right there, as it has been rightly pointed
out that numerous bug fixes in the kernel in the past have later been
deemed "security fixes".  So what you are asking for is for _all_
bugfixes to be sent to such a list.

Well, we have that already, we have mailing lists that get every single
patch that is merged into the kernel, and there's the big lkml list as
well with hundreds of fixes posted every week.

> I think security communication needs to be
> improved at the commit level (as opposed to the reporting), since
> maintainers are often much more knowledgeable and better able to
> understand security impact than the users who are often presenting
> issues.

I don't think you understand the rate of change in the kernel and how
trying to do this for every commit is unfeasable and unworkable.  You do
know how fast it goes, right?

> Criteria could be set up for what kinds of issues would be
> candidates for being sent to this list.  I don't think this would
> require substantially more work on anyone's part, but by creating a
> culture where potential security issues are treated seriously, it
> would at least stop some of the silent patching that's been going on.
> Once potential security issues have been submitted to such a list, I'm
> sure there would be no shortage of people willing and able to analyze
> security impact for each issue, including assigning CVEs.  While
> digging through every kernel patch might be too much work, with the
> cooperation of maintainers this can be reduced to a much smaller
> subset that would be easily dealt with.

I would be happy if someone could just document the patches that _are_
applied to stable kernel releases.  I bet you can't keep up with that,
they are moving so fast.

Sorry, I don't think this is workable as you are proposing, but feel
free to prove me wrong :)


greg k-h

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Please check out the Open Source Software Security Wiki, which is counterpart to this mailing list.

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.