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[Cluster-devel] Re: [PATCH 00/25] move handling of setuid/gid bits from VFS into individual setattr functions (RESEND)

On Mon, 6 Aug 2007 09:54:03 -0400
Jeff Layton <jlayton redhat com> wrote:

> Apologies for the resend, but the original sending had the date in the
> email header and it caused some of these to bounce...
> ( Please consider trimming the Cc list if discussing some aspect of this
> that doesn't concern everyone.)
> When an unprivileged process attempts to modify a file that has the
> setuid or setgid bits set, the VFS will attempt to clear these bits. The
> VFS will set the ATTR_KILL_SUID or ATTR_KILL_SGID bits in the ia_valid
> mask, and then call notify_change to clear these bits and set the mode
> accordingly.
> With a networked filesystem (NFS in particular but most likely others),
> the client machine may not have credentials that allow for the clearing
> of these bits. In some situations, this can lead to file corruption, or
> to an operation failing outright because the setattr fails.
> In this situation, we'd like to just leave the handling of this to
> the server and ignore these bits. The problem is that by the time
> nfs_setattr is called, the VFS has already reinterpreted the ATTR_KILL_*
> bits into a mode change. We can't fix this in the filesystems where
> this is a problem, as doing so would leave us having to second-guess
> what the VFS wants us to do. So we need to change it so that filesystems
> have more flexibility in how to interpret the ATTR_KILL_* bits.
> The first patch in the following patchset moves this logic into a helper
> function, and then only calls this helper function for inodes that do
> not have a setattr operation defined. The subsequent patches fix up
> individual filesystem setattr functions to call this helper function.
> The upshot of this is that with this change, filesystems that define
> a setattr inode operation are now responsible for handling the ATTR_KILL
> bits as well. They can trivially do so by calling the helper, but they
> must do so.
> Some of the follow-on patches may not be strictly necessary, but I
> decided that it was better to take the conservative approach and call
> the helper when I wasn't sure. I've tried to CC the maintainers
> for the individual filesystems as well where I could find them,
> please let me know if there are others who should be informed.
> Comments and suggestions appreciated...

>From a purely practical standpoint: it's a concern that all filesytems need
patching to continue to correctly function after this change.  There might
be filesystems which you missed, and there are out-of-tree filesystems
which won't be updated.

And I think the impact upon the out-of-tree filesystems would be fairly
severe: they quietly and subtly get their secutiry guarantees broken (I

Is there any way in which we can prevent these problems?  Say

- rename something so that unconverted filesystems will reliably fail to

- leave existing filesystems alone, but add a new
  inode_operations.setattr_jeff, which the networked filesytems can
  implement, and teach core vfs to call setattr_jeff in preference to

Something else?

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