[arch-general] [arch-dev-public] Trimming down our default kernel configuration

Bigby James bigby.james at crepcran.com
Fri Mar 28 09:34:46 EDT 2014

On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 12:54:44PM +0200, Arthur Țițeică wrote:
> It raises a question mark that the two most important components of a system 
> (systemd and the kernel) have security measures disabled.
> People in this thread like to put out the over subjective "lightweight" factor 
> but still there are no bug reports or any other solid evidence that the kernel 
> ate their computers since apparmor, selinux and audit were semi-silently 
> enabled a few builds back.
> The facts will remain though:
> * the kernel will still be "everything and the kitchen sink".
> * no provable performance enhancement so far.
> * security measures will get back at square 1.

There seems to be a general, significant misunderstanding floating around this
thread. The "security features" in question are not passive; their mere
existence within the binary kernel does not improve security. They are modules
that allow users to fine-tune certain security features through the kernel using
third-party tools, features that are almost exclusively useful for server
administration (since, if you're the only one with access to your single-user
machine, they won't tell you anything you can't already see without them).

If you've never installed and configured the SELinux/AppArmor/Tomoyo userspace
packages, you've never had the security they purport to provide. Hence the point
of removing their modules from the kernel isn't performance; it's that  *no one
uses them,* and they clutter up the kernel configuration for no good reason at
all, making it more tedious to maintain and just a bit more annoying to
configure for individual users for absolutely no benefit.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams

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