[lkml]   [2003]   [May]   [14]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: [PATCH] PAG support, try #2

On Wed, 14 May 2003, David Howells wrote:
> Here's a revised patch for adding PAG support that incorporates suggestions
> and corrections I've been sent.

I still really don't like this, and think it needs to be thought through a
_lot_ more. I also think this is _way_ waaaay too late to get into
2.6.x anyway.

Anyway, the thing I think is just fundamentally broken about this is

- I'm convinced this is designed for AFS, and not for any practical use.
For example, the "PAG" identifier (pag_t) is not any bigger than
"uid_t", which means that there is no sane way to map users onto pags
without just making them 1:1.

Which looks like a frigging _bad_ design, one that doesn't take account
of what a normal user (and current AFS/Kerberos users are by design
_not_ normal users) might want to have through something like "pam".

- A token can be on only one pag, which means that you have to duplicate
tokens and then have a very hard time revocing them if you want to. In
other words, you can never give another user (which by implication is
always another pag in my mind) a token, since you've now effectively
lost the ability to invalidate it (the other user gets a copy of the

End result: again, this looks like it is designed for the _wrong_ usage
of sharing a whole PAG or sharing nothing at all. Which is probably
what current AFS users do, but it sounds inflexible and _wrong_ to me.
The main PAG usage I personally envision would be something where the
PAG contains the decryption key to a filesystem or similar, which
definitely is something where you (a) want to have multiple keys and
(b) you want to have multiple PAG's that can share some keys without
being the same PAG.

I suspect both of these problems could be fixed by another level of
indirection: a "user credential" is really a "list of PAG's", with the PAG
being a "list of keys". Joining a PAG _adds_ that PAG to the user
credentials, instead of replacing the old credentials with the new one.

And "pag_t" needs to be bigger, at least 64 bits. That, together with the
"credential == 'list of PAG'" thing means that you can choose to do things

- high bits zero, low bits match the UID (ie all users automatically get
their own "private PAG", PAM just does the joining automatically)

I personally _require_ this. End of discussion. Anything that doesn't
allow for user-friendly automatic PAG's is, in my not-so-humble
opinion, a total waste of time, and complete CRAP.

Did I make my opinion clear enough? In other words, when I log in, I
want to automatically get certain credentials, and I consider the
log-in sequence to be sufficient security for those credentials.

Anything that isn't designed for this is WRONG.

- high bits "group pattern", low bits "GUID" - same thing as UID. Some
PAG's are automatically associated with the _group_ ID of the person.
When I log in, and I'm in the "engineering" group, I should
automatically get access to the "engineering PAG".

- users can controlledly join other PAGs as they wish (ie if you want to
have credentials that are on top of the automatic user credentials, you
have to join them explicitly, which migth require a stronger password
or something)

This allows for the "extra" credentials, and it also allows for users
joining each others PAG's at least temporarily. It also allows things
like extra groups outside of the traditional scope of groups (ie you
can set up ad-hoc groups by creating a new PAG, and letting others join

Anyway, I htink the current patch is totally unusable for any reasonable
MIS setup (ie you couldn't make it useful as a PAM addition even if you
tried), and is totally special-cased for one (not very interesting, to me)

And I think this will be a 2.7.x issue, if only because you guys will need
to convince me that I'm wrong.


To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2005-03-22 13:35    [W:0.091 / U:9.272 seconds]
©2003-2018 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site