Openwall GNU/*/Linux - a small security-enhanced Linux distro for servers
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Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 10:53:58 -0600
From: Vincent Danen <vdanen@...hat.com>
To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Closed list

* [2011-04-05 20:18:38 +0400] Solar Designer wrote:

>I wish we had this discussion for real a month ago, but apparently most
>folks won't comment until the setup of a closed list becomes a reality.
>So I think there was some use in setting it up even if we end up re-doing
>or removing it, which is within consideration. ;-)

That's usually how it works though, isn't it?  =)

>On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 09:40:13AM -0600, Vincent Danen wrote:
>> A lot of userland stuff is shared between BSD and Linux, and probably
>> some other operating systems.  About the only things that differ between
>> a lot of these are the Linux kernel, and the *libc.
>
>There are also userland tools specific to the Linux kernel, there's
>Linux-PAM, there are package managers that are rarely used on non-Linux.

Yes, of course.  There's SELinux, there's AppArmor, there's a whole mess
more, but there is still quite a bit of overlap.

>I mostly agree with you, though.
>
>> I think if the disqualifier to Apple is that they don't ship a Linux
>> kernel and glibc, then we're doing them (and ourselves) a disservice.
>> Apple contributed a lot to vendor-sec (and I'm not going all pro-Apple
>> here, just stating a fact).
>
>Yes.
>
>> I think it would be reasonable to s/Linux list/open source vendor list/,
>> like vendor-sec used to be.
>
>If it's not just Linux, then where do we draw the line?  Do we accept
>Solaris distros (of which there are several), Haiku, ReactOS, Cygwin,
>and who knows what else (no offense intended to any of these fine
>projects)?  I think this would make leaks and misuse of the information
>significantly more likely, and make some members and reporters
>uncomfortable about posting to the list.  So we'll be back to CC lists.

I don't know.  Did we have them on vendor-sec in the past?  Not to say
that we want to setup a vendor-sec clone, but there obviously needs to
be some criteria for acceptance beyond whether they are a Linux distro.
I believe vendor-sec had a criteria list, and we could borrow from that
(activity from the project; a project that doesn't do security updates
or does them slowly/infrequently probably doesn't have a need for
vendor-sec).  Chances are if they weren't on the list before, they don't
need it either.

I think no matter how we define the line, someone is going to be
annoyed, and someone will think it's a "big boys club".  That's
unavoidable.  Maybe we need to worry less about individual project's
feelings and just state our criteria.  If they meet it, great.  If they
don't, then they need to work on it to get to a point where they meet
it.

I don't think that's unreasonable either.  My wife takes care of little
kids and she wouldn't have her job very long if she didn't take the
mandated first aid course.  As a parent, I wouldn't want her to have
that job if she didn't fit the pre-requisites (having first aid is
more than just useful/optional).  That doesn't make the job more
"elite".

Maybe if we think about things in these terms, and disclose the
requirements completely, then there is nothing for anyone to be upset
about.

Having said that, I do think trust is part of the equation.  I wouldn't
want Joe Distro on the list because they've existed for 2mos and have
put out a bunch of "security updates" without vetting their
trustworthiness.

>> ... letting Apple/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/etc. have a seat at our table.
>
>I am comfortable about "Apple/FreeBSD/OpenBSD", but not about "etc." -
>so we'd be forced to introduce a vouching system (well, maybe we'd be
>forced to do that for Linux distros as well...)

"etc" more or less meant the other *BSDs, but I was being lazy.  =)
Maybe just NetBSD there.

I'm deliberately excluding Solaris because I have no idea how the whole
openSolaris thing works, but I imagine if they met the criteria (and
that would mean that Linux itself is _not_ one of the criteria), and
were vetted, then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

-- 
Vincent Danen / Red Hat Security Response Team 

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