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Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 07:52:07 +1100
From: Matthew Fernandez <>
Subject: Re: sandboxing,of upstream programs by distros

On 10/15/23 04:07, Demi Marie Obenour wrote:
> Which software is this?  Are there plans to at least fix the known
> memory safety problems?  If not, I think it would be best to disable the
> known-vulnerable features by default.  If the entire software package is
> vulnerable, I recommend deprecating it and recommending that downstream
> users migrate to a more secure alternative.

I deliberately did not name it to avoid getting into a discussion like 
this. The short answer is that we’re doing our best but the history of 
the project includes 10+ year old bugs that no one has had the time or 
resources to address. “fix all the bugs” simply is not a strategy that 
survives contact with the real world.

> You have to be willing to break compatibility to at least some degree.
> If you try to support everything, you wind up with something like Qubes
> OS’s “convert to trusted image”, which creates and destroys an entire
> virtual machine for every operation.  Even then, you will still break
> a (hypothetical) plugin that accesses the Internet, because that VM
> should not have network access.
> What I would do is compile a list of system calls that are reasonable to
> make after startup.  Once all plugins have been loaded and all
> configuration files have been read, no plugin should be opening files or
> making network connections.  If it does, that plugin is broken and needs
> to be fixed.  You can have these system calls fail rather than killing
> the entire process, but you cannot try to support arbitrary plugins.
> That said, I expect most existing plugins will work fine with
> sandboxing.

Sure, but you’re answering a different question than the one I asked.

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