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Re: LSM conversion to static interface

From:  "Thomas Fricaccia" <>
To:  "Crispin Cowan" <>
Subject:  Re: LSM conversion to static interface
Date:  Sun, 21 Oct 2007 19:24:42 -0700
Message-ID:  <>
Cc:, "LSM ML" <>, "Linus Torvalds" <>
Archive-link:  Article

Yes, I think Crispin has succinctly summed it up:  irrevocably closing
the LSM prevents commercial customers from using security modules other
than that provided by their Linux distributor.  As Sarbanes-Oxley and
other regulatory laws require these customers to use "standard
kernels", the result is a rather dreary form of vendor lock-in, where the
security framework is coupled to the distribution.

Though it would require a somewhat undesirable complexity of CONFIG_
flags, it should be possible to construct flexibility enough for everyone
to get what he wants.  For example, it should be possible to configure
kernels with a single security framework hard-linked, AND it should
also be possible to configure kernels such that the default security
framework could be completely replaced at boot time by another, be it
out-of-tree module, or other.

I agree entirely that preserving this form of freedom for the end user
makes Linux a much stronger technology than not.  For one thing, the
consequences of closing LSM are fairly certain to irritate enterprise
commercial customers, which is probably a sign that the technology has
taken a wrong turn.

Tommy F.

Crispin Cowan <> wrote:

> So the net impact of this patch is:
>    * It takes a deployment practice (static compiled-in security) that
>      is arguably good in many circumstances and makes it mandatory at
>      all times.
>    * It takes a development practice that is very convenient and
>      slightly risky, and forces you into the pessimal inconvenient
>      development practice at all times.
>    * It prevents enterprise users, and in fact anyone who isn't
>      comfortable compiling their own kernel, from ever trying out any
>      security module that their distro vendor of choice did not ship.
> This strikes me as a rather anti-choice position to take. It says that
> because candy is bad for you, you only ever get to eat vegetables. I
> don't understand why Linux would want to do this to its users.
> It doesn't hurt me or AppArmor. Since AppArmor is now shipping with
> SUSE, Ubuntu, and Mandriva, what this does is make it harder for newer
> modules like TOMOYO, Multi-Admin, etc, to get exposure to enterprise
> users. So I don't think I am being self-serving in arguing against this
> patch. I just think it is bad for Linux.
> Crispin
> -- 
> Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.     
>         Itanium. Vista. GPLv3. Complexity at work

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