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[Freeipa-devel] [RANT] --setattr validation is a minefield.



I'm aware that we have backwards compatibility requirements so we have to stick with unfortunate decisions, but I wanted you to know what I think. Please tell me I'm wrong!



It is not clear what --{set,add,del}attr and friends should do. On the one hand they should be powerful -- presumably as powerful as ldapmodify. On the other hand they should be checked to ensure they can't be used to break the system. These requirements are contradictory. And in either case we're doing it wrong:
- If they should be all-powerful, we shouldn't validate them.
- If they shouldn't break the system we can just disable them for IPA-managed attributes. My understanding is that they were originally only added for attributes IPA doesn't know about. People can still use ldapmodify to bypass validation if they want. - If somewhere in between, we need to clearly define what they should do, instead of drawing the line ad-hoc based on individual details we forgot about, as tickets come from QE.


I would hope people won't use --setattr for IPA-managed attributes. Which would however mean we won't get much community testing for all this extra code.


Then, there's an unfortunate detail in IPA implementation: attribute Params need to be cloned to method objects (Create, Update, etc.) to work properly (e.g. get the `attribute` flag set). If they are marked no_update, they don't get cloned, so they don't work properly. Yet --setattr apparently needs to be able to update and validate attributes marked no_update (this ties to the confusing requirements on --setattr I already mentioned). This leads to doing the same work again, slightly differently.



tl;dr: --setattr work on IPA-managed attributes (with validation) is a mistake. It adds no functionality, only complexity. We don't want people to use it. It will cost us a lot of maintenance work to support.


Thank you for listening. A patch for the newest regression is coming up.

--
PetrĀ³


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