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SubjectRe: Linux 2.4.10-pre11
On Thu, Sep 20, 2001 at 06:44:18PM -0400, Alexander Viro wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Sep 2001, Andrea Arcangeli wrote:
> > Of course, however if you want I can first fix initrd (I was just
> > looking into it in the last minutes), the security fix broke initrd
> > badly unfortunately [didn't tested initrd but just the ramdisks before
> > posting it] (not sure why initrd broke at the moment but I believe the
> > design of the fix was the right one, so it is probably an implementation
> > detail). So unless you need it urgently I will try to fix initrd first,
> > then I will send to you so you can go ahead without risk of future rejects.
> I'd suggest to stop treating initrd as block device. It has to keep
> S_IFBLK in mode bits, indeed, but I'd rather set ->f_op upon open() and
> stop worrying about it.
> We don't need buffer-cache access to it anyway - if you look carefully
> you will see that we actually copy its contents to normal ramdisk
> first. So just having ->read() (essentially copy_to_user()) is
> perfectly OK.

of course, we never used initrd blkdev, we just use the ramdisk always
from userspace. Initrd doesn't need to be a blockdev, we could just
copy the ram ourself and just call ->write on the ramdisk. userspace
just sees /dev/ram0, /dev/initrd is a kernel internal thing that doesn't
need to be visible, and if anybody uses /dev/initrd somehow that just
insane (and it doesn't even look possible to make anything useful out of
/dev/initrd anyways).

> Check how old code was dealing with it - it's really the best way to
> treat that sucker. We probably will be better off if we make it a
> character device at some point in 2.5 and move the thing to char/mem.c,
> but anyway, it had never been a proper block device (== one with
> requests queue, etc.) and there's no point in making it such now.
> Again, the proper way to treat it is to convert it into character
> device at some point. Userland won't actually care - after the
> boot it's gone. And kernel is using it only via ->read(), so
> there's no point trying to make it similar to real ramdisks.

1) I am tentated to fix the initrd bug by just killing initrd blkdev,
completly instead of going to mark PageSecure all the initrd pages.

2) Otherwise I can make a brute hack one liner approch with a global
field that ignores the PageSecure bit on reads until I finished to fill
in the /dev/ram0 :) (slowdown production paths for a boot thing but
doesn't matter, but ok we aren't writing proprietary software here and
this isn't the right thing ;)

3) I can just mark the initrd pages as PageSecure, then I can safely
forget about them.

What do you prefer for the next 2.4.10 mainline? I'd like to have this
fixed _fast_ and to be included in mainline, since the security problem
is ugly (not too bad though since /dev/ram0 is readable only by root by
default) and because people really needs initrd.

Suggestions are very welcome.

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