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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/2] crypto: add new driver for Marvell CESA
Hey Gregory,

On Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 11:39:16AM +0200, Gregory CLEMENT wrote:
> Hi Jason, Boris,
> On 11/04/2015 00:30, Jason Cooper wrote:
> > Hey Boris,
> >
> > On Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 05:11:48PM +0200, Boris Brezillon wrote:
> >> On Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:50:56 +0000 Jason Cooper <> wrote:
> >>> On Thu, Apr 09, 2015 at 04:58:41PM +0200, Boris Brezillon wrote:
> >>>> I know we usually try to adapt existing drivers instead of replacing them
> >>>> by new ones, but after trying to refactor the mv_cesa driver I realized it
> >>>> would take longer than writing an new one from scratch.
> >>>
> >>> I'm sorry, but this makes me *very* uncomfortable. Any organization
> >>> worth it's salt will do a very careful audit of code touching
> >>> cryptographic material and sensitive (decrypted) data. From that point
> >>> on, small audits of the changes to the code allow the organization to
> >>> build a comfort level with kernel updates. iow, following the git
> >>> history of the driver.
> >>>
> >>> By apply this series, we are basically forcing those organizations to
> >>> either a) stop updating, or b) expend significant resources to do
> >>> another full audit.
> >>>
> >>> In short, this series breaks the audit chain for the mv_cesa driver.
> >>>
> >>> Maybe I'm the only person with this level of paranoia. If so, I'm sure
> >>> others will override me.
> >>>
> >>> From my POV, it looks like the *only* reason we've chosen this route is
> >>> developer convenience. I don't think that's sufficient reason to break
> >>> the change history of a driver handling sensitive data.
> >>
> >> Well, I understand you concern, but if you read carefully the old and
> >> new drivers, you'll notice that they are completely different (the only
> >> thing I kept are the macro definitions).
> >
> > Yes, that's the worrying part for me. ;-)
> I understand the logic behind your concern, but I wonder if it is really
> an issue. My knowledge ans my background around crypto is very limited,
> so I really would like the opinion of other people on the subject.

It's not about the crypto, it's about trust. imho, one of the most
important security advances in the past 20 years is the default use of
git (or other SCMs) by open source projects. Now, no one is forced to
trust the authors and maintainers tarball dumps. Regular code audits
and security updates are *much* more feasible because you can audit
small changes. It can even be automated to a large extent.

All this means the user has a choice: they can trust the authors and
maintainers, or they can trust their own audits. Since updates are an
essential part of a security posture, small commits facilitate
maintaining the 'trust in audits'.

It's not about "Should you trust free-electrons?" Or, "Should you trust
Jason / Herbert / Linus?" It's about "Should you have to trust any of

> >> I really tried to adapt the existing driver to add the missing
> >> features (especially the support for TDMA), but all my attempts
> >> ended up introducing hackish code (not even talking about the
> >> performance penalty of this approach).
> >
> > Ok, fair enough. It would be helpful if this account of attempting to
> > reconcile the old driver made it into the commit message. This puts us
> > in "perfect is the enemy of getting it done" territory.
> >
> >> I have another solution though: keep the existing driver for old
> >> marvell SoCs (orion, kirkwood and dove), and add a new one for modern
> >> SoCs (armada 370, XP, 375 and 38x), so that users of the mv_cesa driver
> >> won't have to audit the new code.
> >
> > A fair proposal, but I'll freely admit the number of people actually auditing
> > their code paths is orders of magnitude smaller than the number of users
> > of the driver.
> >
> > There's such a large population of compatible legacy SoCs in the wild,
> > adding an artificial boundary doesn't make sense. Especially since
> > we're talking about features everyone would want to use.
> >
> > Perhaps we should keep both around, and deprecate the legacy driver over
> > 3 to 4 cycles?
> But I guess that some users will want to use the new driver on the "old" marvell
> SoCs (especially kirkwood and dove).

Yes, despite my arguments, I'm one of those people. :-P

> If we go to this path, then the best solution would be to still update
> all the the dts, and modifying the old driver to be able to use the
> new binding: for my point of view the only adaptation should be
> related to the SRAM. It will be also needed to find a way to be able
> to load only one driver at a time: either the old or the new, but not
> both.

We can look at how the wireless drivers handle this. They often have to
choose between multiple drivers (foss, proprietary, ndis-something, etc)
for a given card. Not much different here.

> However I still wonder if it worth the effort.

I'd appreciate if we'd look into it. I understand from on-list and
off-list discussion that the rewrite was unavoidable. So I'm willing to
concede that. Giving people time to migrate from old to new while still
being able to update for other security fixes seems reasonable.



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