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SubjectRe: [PATCH] random.c bugfix
On Mon, 29 Oct 2001, Andreas Dilger wrote:

> On Oct 29, 2001 10:58 -0600, Oliver Xymoron wrote:
> > > > (*) I don't know enough about the hash functions to know how to add a
> > > > few odd bytes into the store in a useful and safe way. We don't
> > > > really want to discard them either - think if a user-space random
> > > > daemon on an otherwise entropy-free system only writes one byte at
> > > > a time...
> > >
> > > I'm no expert either, but padding with anything (zeroes?) to get the right
> > > length should be safe, no?
> >
> > No. A 4-byte accumulator is the right answer. We have to be careful here
> > though - the actual entropy might be in the partial words, we have to
> > account for it conservatively.
> In a large majority of the cases, there are only full-word entropy additions.
> The only time we need to deal with sub-word additions is from random_write()
> and from the equivalent ioctl. It also appears that we do this when filling
> the secondary pool, but that is OK because we periodically dump far more
> entropy into the secondary pool than we could possibly lose through rounding
> errors.

They're not rounding errors per se though. This is what I mean by
conservative accounting. If you have three extra bytes, you must assume
that they're worth a full 24 bits of entropy. Throwing them away is fairly

> Having an accumulator would only handle a rarely-used corner case. We
> could just as easily fix any user-space entropy daemon to write at least
> 4 bytes at a time. Alternately, we could "pad" with enough bytes from
> the random pool, and not accumulate at all.

Padding -from the pool- is acceptable (and simple enough a slow path to
add to the low-level function). Padding with constants is bad and padding
with zeros tends to be really bad.

> In any case, this is in the noise compared to not using the input data
> at all (which I fixed in the other patch).

Any of this made it into recent kernels yet? Backport to 2.2 might be a
good idea too..

"Love the dolphins," she advised him. "Write by W.A.S.T.E.."

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