[arch-dev-public] Use systemd timers instead of /etc/cron.{hourly, daily, weekly, monthly}?

Daniel Micay danielmicay at gmail.com
Thu Mar 27 22:59:36 EDT 2014

On 27/03/14 10:01 PM, Gaetan Bisson wrote:
> [2014-03-27 21:01:17 -0400] Daniel Micay:
>> setuid binary (crontab) so it opens up a vulnerability in the base install.
>> Among others (although one requires cron to be enabled):
>> * https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=CVE-2010-0424
>> * https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=CVE-2012-6097
> There were bugs that have been fixed a while ago; what's your point?

My point was only that the security risk is not theoretical. The only
other arguments I have against including packages in base are disk and
bandwidth usage and I don't think those are important when we're talking
about such small numbers. Reducing the attack surface of most Arch
installs is a stronger reason to keep base small.

I think cutting down the number of setuid binaries shipped in base (and
overall) would be great, and crontab is one of the few that we can't
eventually switch to a significantly less scary capability like CAP_NET_RAW.

> I support switching to systemd timers in order to streamline our base
> install, as well as regroup daemons and periodic commands configuration
> in just one place.

Removing a daemon that's not enabled by default would help to streamline
the base install too.

> But I do not believe that replacing a small setuid
> binary by a larger one addresses any potential security issue.

I don't think systemd timers allow non-root users to run timer units
outside of their session and the systemd session binary runs as
non-root. AFAIK avoiding setuid binaries is one of the reasons for tools
like hostnamectl using a client-server model.

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