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Suhosin patch disabled by default in Debian php5 builds

From:  Ondřej Surý <ondrej-AT-sury.org>
To:  657698 <657698-AT-bugs.debian.org>, Christoph Anton Mitterer <calestyo-AT-scientia.net>, Douglas Calvert <dfc-AT-douglasfcalvert.net>, Jesse Molina <jesse-AT-opendreams.net>, Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez <clopez-AT-igalia.com>, PHP internals <internals-AT-lists.php.net>, Debian Developers <debian-devel-AT-lists.debian.org>, Debian PHP Maintainers <pkg-php-maint-AT-lists.alioth.debian.org>
Subject:  Suhosin patch disabled by default in Debian php5 builds
Date:  Thu, 2 Feb 2012 13:55:20 +0100
Message-ID:  <CALjhHG_wYvJn-Z+x9fJUi+dgmZ+Ha9BD54N5VwhneJM4sg1xBQ@mail.gmail.com>
Archive-link:  Article

Crossposting to php-internals too since those are the guys who receive
the bugreports...

Debian unstable packages has recently disabled suhosin patch by
default (it is still kept as optional part which could be enabled at
compile time).

I am trying to summarize the reasons why I have decided to disable
suhosin patch here.

Please keep the discussion civil and on the technical level and if you
want to engage in deeper discussion please try to keep it isolated in
pkg-php-maint@lists.alioth.debian.org and 657698@bugs.debian.org, so
we don't flood cross-post. [Sorry for such huge initial cross-post.]

There are already some reasons listed here:
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=657698#15

The manpower issue which was mentioned several times is not the only
one (it mainly comes to mind if we have to keep to sets of packages w/
and w/o suhosin). Although the pkg-php team is always looking for new
victims^Umembers.

I'll try even harder to list more reasons, why I have changed my mind
over a time regarding the suhosin patch:

1. Suhosin patch has an impact on the speed and memory usage. This has
been documented and even author admits it [1].

2. It doesn't help our users when reporting bugs to upstream - the
usual answer is - try if that happens with vanilla php.

3. Stefan's relationships with PHP upstream (and vice versa)[1] isn't
helping very much - and I think we (pkg-php) have improved our
relationship with upstream in past few years a lot.

4. PHP has improved a lot, in fact I haven't seen a canary report in
past few years (probably 5.3.x). Also there are very few segfaults
reported in 5.3 (compared to 5.2 which was a living nightmare from
what I remember).

5. Keeping our code close to upstream and to other linux distros
(Fedora - no, Suse - optional) is a way how to provide our users with
consistent behaviour across the Linux ecosystem.

My personal feeling is that most people see suhosin as "this is about
security, thus it must be good". This combined with bad PHP security
history makes everybody feel insecure when suhosin was removed, but
the real question is if the suhosin is still really helping with PHP
security or it is just a burden in the general installations now.

I have walked the bug list for 5.3 mentioning suhosin[2] to actually
at least partially support what I have just said. I have found few
bugs where suhosin was causing a problems ([3],[4]) and a handful of
bugs with "have suhosin, cannot help". I know this isn't (and can't
be) a definitive list, but it just show that

P.S.: Also see stas reply[5] about valgrind.

Links:
1. http://www.hardened-php.net/hphp/faq.html#why_is_hardenin...
2.
https://bugs.php.net/search.php?search_for=suhosin&bo...
3. https://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=60216
4. https://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=60935
5. http://www.suspekt.org/2008/10/12/suhosin-canary-mismatch...

-- 
Ondřej Surý <ondrej@sury.org>

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