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Re: [libvirt] Hard link to root-owned file now fails (since Fedora 19)

On Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 01:37:33PM -0400, Colin Walters wrote:
> But ok, so as you said in the followup, the real root issue here is
> libvirt calling chown [on the kernel and initrd].  It's not clear
> to me why it does so.

It's a good question, and trying to formulate an answer made me
question some fundamental assumptions.  I'm CC-ing libvir-list to see
if anyone has some ideas.


Some background: We've got three users involved here.

  nova            libvirtd          qemu
       -- invokes -->  -- invokes -->
  some $UID       root              qemu.qemu

The reason for this dance of three users is security.  It provides
extra separation in case a rogue filesystem that we're examining
exploits the guest kernel and qemu (which is reckoned to be rather
easy).  We don't want that rogue qemu process to be able to escalate
this to an attack on either the host or the process (nova) running

SELinux is used too for extra extra security, but you may be amazed
that it's not unknown for people to turn SELinux off.


Now does libvirtd need to chown kernel & initrd?

Ideally (and something that's slowly being worked towards) libvirtd
would open all resources on qemu's behalf, and pass opened file
descriptors down to qemu.  In the case of kernel and initrd libvirtd
could do this already by passing /dev/fd/<N> paths to qemu.  This, I
think, would avoid any need to chown those.

For the appliance disk, /dev/fd/<N> also works, but only because we're
not hot-plugging this disk.  (When you have to hot-plug a disk, you
are talking to qemu over the qemu monitor, so the only way to pass
fd's over is to use SCM_RIGHTS).

Could we just rely on Unix permissions?  I think the answer is yes for
kernel & initrd (make them world readable), at least in this case.  If
kernel & initrd had private data, you wouldn't want to do this.  The
appliance disk is a little more tricky.


Richard Jones, Virtualization Group, Red Hat http://people.redhat.com/~rjones
libguestfs lets you edit virtual machines.  Supports shell scripting,
bindings from many languages.  http://libguestfs.org

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