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Re: Security policy oversight needed?



On Thu, 2009-11-19 at 11:15 +0000, Richard Hughes wrote:
> 2009/11/18 Chris Adams <cmadams hiwaay net>:
> > I would like to see this discussion separate from discussion about the
> > current issue with PackageKit.
> 
> That would be nice :)
> 
> The problem is who to target. If you call Fedora a desktop distro,
> then it makes perfect sense for local users to be able to shutdown the
> computer, suspend, change the system clock and install clipart without
> passwords, as long as it's done in a secure way.
> 
> If you call Fedora a server OS, then it shouldn't be shipping
> PackageKit at all, and should have most of the PolicyKit
> authentication actions defaulting to no.
> 
> So obviously we need some middle ground. I guess if the spins
> "personalise" the package set then they should also personalize the
> security defaults. e.g. a server spin would not include PackageKit at
> all, and default to not letting users change the time. A desktop spin
> would allow the desktop user to do most things without a administrator
> password. The tricky part is deciding a default policy that is
> suitable for all the people using Fedora, which honestly, I think is
> impossible.

It seems to me that the way to proceed here isn't to worry about
different classes of Fedora installations, but rather to think about
different classes of *users*. 

There may be a few machines where nobody is trusted to install signed
packages without typing in the admin password again; luckily PolicyKit
is a very configurable framework. But most cases, things separate pretty
cleanly into:

 - People who are assumed to know what they are doing (parents,
   the departmental IT guy, etc.)

 - People who don't get to reconfigure the machine (children,
   students, etc.)

By having that two part policy, and having the straightforward user
configuration GUI that we've been wanting for years, I think we cover
almost everything. And we don't have to ask the user at install time a
question that they can't answer: "do you want your machine to be safe or
to be convenient?"

- Owen



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