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Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 10:56:15 -0600
From: Vincent Danen <vdanen@...hat.com>
To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Closed list

* [2011-04-05 18:02:54 +0200] Andrea Barisani wrote:

>On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 09:40:13AM -0600, Vincent Danen wrote:
>> * [2011-04-05 08:43:29 -0400] Josh Bressers wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >----- Original Message -----
>> >>On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 07:19:08AM -0400, Josh Bressers wrote:
>> >>> Not adding Apple to any coordination list would be plain silly. They
>> >>> were far more active than most of the distributions.
>> >>
>> >>Yes. But why do they need to be aware, say, of glibc vulnerabilities
>> >>(ones that are in fact believed to be glibc-specific)?
>> >
>> >This is an excellent point. It's a hard problem to solve honestly. I guess
>> >the question really comes down to this. Do the disadvantages of one list
>> >outweigh the benefits? I'm not sure what the answer is. There probably
>> >isn't an "answer" though, just lots of opinions.
>>
>> Just throwing this out there (I've read the thread but haven't
>> contributed at all yet).
>>
>> 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 is a lot of
>> cross-over with other stuff, which means there will likely be a lot of
>> cc'ing going on (which I imagine might be complicated due to encryption
>> requirements).
>>
>> Where does the line get drawn?  If vendor A ships with exim, and another
>> with postfix, which one belongs on the "Linux list"?  Obviously
>> discussions of exim don't matter to the postfix shipper, and vice versa.
>> Pick any other software that has a competing open source alternative.
>> Does Debian not get on the list because they don't technically ship
>> firefox?
>>
>> 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).
>>
>> I think it would be reasonable to s/Linux list/open source vendor list/,
>> like vendor-sec used to be.  Yes, Apple will see some glibc stuff and
>> some Linux kernel stuff.  So what?  They may also see some exim stuff
>> that doesn't apply to them, and (hopefully!) the Linux vendors may seem
>> some stuff that isn't applicable to them, but it is useful for the *BSD
>> vendors who would (hopefully!) be on the list and feel welcome enough to
>> use it.  Who knows, it might even be beneficial to have a glibc issue
>> and someone from Apple or FreeBSD or whatever pipes up and indicates
>> that the BSD libc once had a similar problem and tells us how they fixed
>> it.
>>
>> I think getting hung up on "Linux vendors only" and "BSD vendors can
>> have their own list" and we end up cross-posting 90% of the issues is
>> going to be an exercise in frustration.
>>
>> Either that, or we start to work more closely with a *CERT and deal with
>> their process for passing along information to other vendors for
>> userland things that are shared; no offence to oCERT or anyone else, but
>> that seems like more of a headache than just letting
>> Apple/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/etc. have a seat at our table.
>>
>> Just my $0.02.
>>
>
>None taken :)
>
>Some random reasons about why we value coordination over a "catch all" list
>(which was considered at oCERT beginning):
>
>- some vendors/projects got annoyed by reports not relevant to them, in the
>  long run it tends to lower the "attention level" when some matters are
>  really meaningful to them, that's why having a trusted purposed channel
>  often worked
>
>- it is not feasible to have every single OSS project on such a list and at
>  some point there is the need to address individual maintainers in a timely
>  fashion along with the affected parties, using a list + cc for that often
>  doesn't work as the communication level greatly differs most of the times
>  (unfortunately).
>
>  We found out the hard way that the usual level of technicality that was
>  happening with most vendors or lists like vendor-sec was perceived as
>  "threatening" or absolutely obscure to some developers/maintainers.
>
>I am not suggesting that coordination ala oCERT is the only true way of
>course, and I am not trying to pitch our project here, just wanted to give
>some elements for the discussion.

Thanks for that Andrea.  I get where you're coming from, but also keep
in mind that the *CERTs also deal with upstream and issues that cover a
multitude of potential upstreams (think protocol-level issues).  For
that, absolutely the *CERTs have their place.

I don't think anyone is suggesting this list is a replacement for the
work that the *CERTs can do in coordinating with various upstreams and
vendors.  I think rather they can often be complimentary.

>I personally think that we need a blend of both approaches in the long term,
>it is just a matter of using the right tool for the job.

Absolutely agree with this.

-- 
Vincent Danen / Red Hat Security Response Team 

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