[arch-general] Pacman makepkg and signatures

Denis A. Altoé Falqueto denisfalqueto at gmail.com
Tue Oct 25 14:38:00 EDT 2011

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Leonid Isaev <lisaev at umail.iu.edu> wrote:
> OK, remarks here:
> 1. Web of trust is something relevant when people actually know each other
> either directly or indirectly (e.g. through mutual friends). When developers
> are concerned, for any distro, this concept looses its meaning, because you
> have no way of knowing them and just have to trust them. This is why the likes
> fedora and debian don'teven have this TrustAll option (at least I am unaware of
> such) -- the keys are trusted always. You either have to blindly trust devs key
> at the gpg level, or use TrustAll.
> 2. Don't just import keys when pacman asks you, because this opens you to an
> attack you described. Instead, import keys from the website manually and then
> be cautious when pacman says that a key is invalid/missing.
> 3. Due to (1) TrustAll is likely to stay, but you can always replace Optional
> with Required in due time.

The trust problem is complex, indeed, but we can at least mitigate it
doing the following (it's what I do):

1. set TrustedOnly, instead of TrustAll
2. import the keys when pacman asks
3. # pacman-key --edit-key <email or id for key>. That will open a gpg session.
4. go to http://www.archlinux.org/developers/ and/or
http://www.archlinux.org/trustedusers/ to check the new signatures
5. sign the key, checking if the fingerprint is correct, according to
the websites from step 4
5. perform save to apply the changes

That way, one can be a little more secure when trusting the keys. The
point is always checking with different places. Today, there are the
keyservers and the Arch developer info pages. Some day, there could be
more options (read-only wiki page, fixed BBS posts), so if one is
compromised, the others can serve as checkpoints for integrity.

IMHO, I don't like TrustAll very much (and the equivalents concepts in
other distributions). It takes the responsibility from the users, who
are the ultimate decision makers of their systems. But that is just my
opinion (not an invitation to a long pointless discussion). We have
options enough to satisfy everyone.

A: Because it obfuscates the reading.
Q: Why is top posting so bad?

Denis A. Altoe Falqueto
Linux user #524555

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