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SubjectRe: [PATCH] Version 3 (2.6.23-rc8) Smack: Simplified Mandatory Access Control Kernel
On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 17:20:36 -0700 Casey Schaufler <> wrote:

> Smack is the Simplified Mandatory Access Control Kernel.

I don't know enough about security even to be dangerous. I went back and
reviewed the August thread from your version 1 submission and the message I
take away is that the code has been well-received and looks good when
considered on its own merits, but selinux could probably be configured to
do something sufficiently similar.

I'd have trouble declaring that "but" to be a reason to not merge smack.
I'm more thinking "let's merge it and see if people use it".

> Documentation/Smack.txt | 104 +
> security/Kconfig | 1
> security/Makefile | 2
> security/smack/Kconfig | 10
> security/smack/Makefile | 9
> security/smack/smack.h | 207 ++
> security/smack/smack_access.c | 345 ++++
> security/smack/smack_lsm.c | 2685 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> security/smack/smackfs.c | 1201 ++++++++++++++
> 9 files changed, 4564 insertions(+)

And that wonderful diffstat really is key to being able to do this.

My major non-technical concern is that Casey Schaufler might get hit by a
bus. If this happens, we can remove the feature in three minutes (that
diffstat again), but that may not be feasible if people have come to rely
upon the feature.

otoh, if a significant number of people are using smack, presumably someone
else would step up to maintain smack post-bus. The risk seems acceptable
to me.

My major technical concern is the apparent paucity of documentation.

So with the information which I presently have available to me, I'm
thinking that this should go into 2.6.24.

Is smack useful without a patched ls, sshd and init.d? What is the status
of getting those userspace patches merged? ie: do you know who to send the
diffs to, and are they likely to take them?

What other userspace tools are likely to need patching?

Notes on the code:

- Please run scripts/ across the diff. It generates 50-100
warnings about minor stylistic matters, and those warnings all look legit
to me. (extern decls in C are my fave peeve).

- Smack.txt and the website seem a bit skimpy. Is there enough
documentation out there for someone to usefully (and, more importantly,
safely) start using smack?

- In his review of version 1, Andi suggested that your ruleset traversal
be protected by RCU. But it seems that this wasn't done. Were the races
which he identified fixed by other means? If so, what were they?

- hm, netlabels. Who might be a suitable person to review that code?
Seems that Paul Moore is the man. Maybe he'd be interested in taking a
look over it (please?)

- some parts of the code use the "smack_foo" naming convention and other
parts use "smk_foo". Seems odd. Deliberate?

- According to git-log, you haven't merged any kernel code at all in at
least 5.5 years. This patch makes it look like you've been doing kernel
full time for a decade. That thing in my hand is a hat.

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