[pacman-dev] Package checking options (was: Changed all references to signature verification level in libalpm symbols to 'verifysig'.)

Kerrick Staley mail at kerrickstaley.com
Thu Jun 16 21:06:03 EDT 2011

I should put in that I'm here for the experience as much as for the
sake of implementing this feature. I'd been kicking around the idea of
starting a (perhaps ambitious) FOSS project of my own, but since I'd
never so much as sent a patch to an existing project before, I thought
that was a little foolhardy to set out with no experience and decided
to work on pacman because I love Arch, but unsigned packages is a
downer for me.

So, if there's ever a point where you feel I'm out of line, then by
all means say something; the more emphatic, the better.

-Kerrick Staley

So by all means,

On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM, Dan McGee <dpmcgee at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 12:47 AM, Kerrick Staley <mail at kerrickstaley.com> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 6:13 PM, Dan McGee <dpmcgee at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> I have objections on your way of going about business here. I present
> >> what i thought was a reasonable approach, got some feedback by Allan,
> >> and then you attempt to throw something completely different at us
> >> without really responding to what is wrong with my proposal.
> >>
> >> I'm trying my hardest to not get seen as a stick in the mud and
> >> impediment to progress here, but it is damn hard to keep my cool when
> >> my years of experience with this codebase gets shoved aside without so
> >> much as a "I don't think you considered this" bit of feedback. My
> >> ideas tend to be backed by those years of experience, and adding
> >> config options is not something we like to do willy-nilly, nor do we
> >> want a complicated config file.
> >
> > Sorry. I often prefer to write in a very direct way (e.g. less
> > instances of "I think...", "I feel...", etc.), even when I really mean
> > to make a suggestion, because it is terser. I thought it was
> > appropriate in this situation because it's a feature I really want to
> > see implemented, and while "We should..." tends to generate a response
> > along the lines of either "yes" or "no, do this", "Should we..." tends
> > to generate a 20+ message thread. While this isn't a bad thing, I
> > thought it'd be better to just propose a fully-thought-out, workable
> > scheme from the start, so that it could be built off of. I spent
> > several hours devising this scheme and ensuring that it covers all
> > functionality that I thought would be useful, without requiring too
> > much configuration.
> >
> > Anyway, I think my writing style is somewhat in poor taste; I'll try
> > to tone it down.
> I'll eat some of my aggressive words as well, I'm sorry. I just come
> back from taking a break over the weekend and see my own time spent
> thinking, analyzing the situation, and coding seemingly get tossed
> aside so I responded with some attitude.
> > I feel like the config file syntax is mostly a trivial issue anyway;
> > it should fall into place once we have decided (a) which situations we
> > should handle specially, and (b) which actions can be taken in those
> > situations. I feel that having separate directives for each case would
> > be cleaner, but the "CheckLevel" syntax works as well, and since it's
> > a question of conventions, it's squarely your call (as is, ultimately,
> > everything else I suggest).
> >
> >> > No marginal signatures should come up, because I don't think we should
> >> > use such signatures during the interim when not all developers have
> >> > fully validated keys; a developer's key can just be excluded from
> >> > pacman-keyring until it is fully validated.
> >> That is a pretty bold assumption. You do realize there are more repos
> >> out there that are not provided by a distro that people might want to
> >> use and have signatures involved, right?
> >
> > OK, you're right.
> >
> >> SigPreviouslySigned- an interesting thought, but definitely not
> >> something we need on first pass- there are also a multitude of issues
> >> here considering everyone starts from a different point.
> >
> > Yeah, I wasn't even planning on implementing it at first; I just
> > thought it'd be something we wanted in the long term, so I put it in
> > among the rest.
> >
> > On Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 3:46 PM, Dan McGee <dpmcgee at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> I also think
> >> we may need to be a bit more granular than our current
> >> Always/Optional/Never trifecta. We have a multitude of possibilities
> >> when checking a signature:
> >>
> >> * Valid signature, fully trusted (or ultimate,
> >>
> >> * Valid signature, unknown trust/unknown key (GPGME_VALIDITY_UNKNOWN,
> >> * Valid signature, trust somewhere in between (marginal,
> >>
> >> * Valid signature, user is never valid (GPGME_VALIDITY_NEVER)
> >> * Valid signature, signature is however expired (GPGME_SIGSUM_SIG_EXPIRED)
> >> * Valid signature, key is however expired (GPGME_SIGSUM_KEY_EXPIRED)
> >> * Bad signature, trust level is irrelevant (GPGME_VALIDITY_RED)
> >
> > It seems that the first 3 in the last group are corner cases (I could
> > not, for the life of me, find a real example of when
> > GPGME_VALIDITY_NEVER would come up).
> TRUST_NEVER seems to only come up if you do a gpg --edit-key, "trust",
> and then choose "never" as your level of trust for a given key, from
> what I can see (option 2).
> Please decide how far you trust this user to correctly verify other users' keys
> (by looking at passports, checking fingerprints from different sources, etc.)
>  1 = I don't know or won't say
>  2 = I do NOT trust
>  3 = I trust marginally
>  4 = I trust fully
>  5 = I trust ultimately
>  m = back to the main menu
> > For the middle two, having a
> > signature with an unknown or nonexistent key doesn't really say
> > anything about the validity of the package, so I think that outcome
> > should just lumped in among the last 4. So, then, this boils down to
> > "the signature is good", "the signature is bad", or "the signature is
> > marginally trusted", but I think there are other cases (hashed,
> > database unsigned) that should be considered.
> Looking at this last night, I came up with something like the
> following. Basically the first enum is what we have now, but moving
> toward a more standard name. The real change comes with the second
> enum, which unlike the first, will be bitflags (I just didn't assign
> values there yet).
> checklevel works more or less as it does currently. unknown falls back
> to the globally set default, never/optional/always are as expected.
> checkoptions basically controls where we perform checks and what we
> consider valid. Potential API example:
>    alpm_db_set_checklevel(PM_CHECK_LEVEL_ALWAYS,
> This particular call would enforce that signatures are present for
> packages AND databases. We would however allow marginally trusted sigs
> (but not unknown ones).
> For simplicity, the following rules would also apply, at least initially:
> * VALID_NEVER, VALIDITY_RED are always failures.
> * SIG_EXPIRED, KEY_EXPIRED are always failures (we could add a
> * Even if PM_CHECK_PACKAGE_SIGNATURES is not provided, we would still
> check it if present and level is at least OPTIONAL.
> typedef enum _pmchecklevel_t {
> } pmchecklevel_t;
> typedef enum _pmcheckoptions_t {
> } pmcheckoptions_t;
> I think this API covers most of the bases we are looking to address.
> The biggest place we differ is in the accept/warn/abort stuff you
> proposed. For me I am not a fan of this, only because I know users
> don't actually read. :/
> Feedback welcome, let's work to a reasonable consensus and I should be
> able to knock this out real quick.
> Oh, and Kerrick, I don't know if you've figured it out by now but my
> hacks are usually available in my repo, right now they are on my
> working branch.
> http://code.toofishes.net/cgit/dan/pacman.git/log/?h=working. We
> should probably make a wiki page of our development repo URLs so
> people can find them.
> -Dan

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