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Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2023 13:00:03 -0400
From: Demi Marie Obenour <>
Subject: Re: Rust programs in distrbutions (Was:
 CVE-2023-5217: Heap buffer overflow in vp8 encoding in libvpx)

On Sat, Sep 30, 2023 at 09:57:13AM +0900, Dominique Martinet wrote:
> Michael Orlitzky wrote on Fri, Sep 29, 2023 at 07:51:12PM -0400:
> > > There are workarounds like putting all of your Rust code in a single dynamic
> > > library, but that's obviously not ideal or always feasible. You can also avoid
> > > the Rust build tool "cargo" and directly compile dependencies to shared
> > > libraries with "rustc", but it's not easy to compile Rust code without "cargo".
> > 
> > This is the biggest problem. Cargo is the standard way to build rust
> > projects. Nobody is shipping a ./configure script for their rust
> > project. Cargo is what's documented. It's what everyone uses. It's
> > baked into all of the tools, the books, the domain names, the clever
> > puns. It's also a bundling tool.
> > 
> > Without ABI stability, the cargo approach was necessary to avoid
> > constant breakage. It's unreasonable to expect end users to track down
> > every rust program they're using and rebuild them all manually every
> > time a library is rebuilt with a newer version of rust. Instead, it was
> > decided that the blessed way to build and distribute rust projects
> > would be to bundle the world along with them.
> > 
> > Except, now, this is embarrassing: the only way for people to get
> > security updates is to track down every rust program they're using and
> > rebuild them all manually. This further presupposes that someone is
> > actually looking for security vulnerabilities in the old versions of
> > libraries bundled on everyone's systems. And that every rust upstream
> > is aware of every vulnerability in every dependency it bundles. None of
> > that happens.
> For what it's worth, fedora is working very hard to improve this:
> they're still rebuilding each crate everytime it's a dependency for a
> program, but they're shipping each crate (source) only once, so when a
> lib is updated there's the tooling to rebuild everything that depends on
> it.
> (And, if said program no longer compiles, maintainers get the fun of
> fixing it or contacting upstream to report the problem, hoping they're
> OK with distributions basically ignoring the Cargo.lock... But I think
> it's better from a distribution point of view that e.g. nixos that does
> respect the Cargo.lock, as that means dependencies never get updated if
> the upstream doesn't pay attention as you pointed out)

It is also worth noting that Rust-the-language supports dynamic linking.
Once Cargo supports this and downstreams (like Fedora) obtain sufficient
build capacity, it will be possible to use dynamic linking by performing
automatic cascading rebuilds whenever a package is upgraded.  Arch
already does this for Haskell IIUC.
Demi Marie Obenour (she/her/hers)
Invisible Things Lab

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