Patchwatcher security improvements

Vit Hrachovy vit.hrachovy at
Wed Sep 10 07:06:59 CDT 2008

Francois Gouget wrote:
> On Mon, 8 Sep 2008, Ambroz Bizjak wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I've abandoned my chroot aproach to improving security in patchwatcher.
>> Instead I've implemented the ability to run untrusted code as a user
>> different than the one running patchwatcher. This is because creating a
>> chroot where Wine could be compiled and tested proved to be too difficult
>> and platform-dependent.
> This seems like an almost perfect task for a virtual machine:
>  * set up you virtual machine to taste
>  * take a snapshot
>  * to test a patch, fire up the virtual machine
>  * have it test the patch
>  * after the test or when it times out, revert it to the snapshot
>  * rinse (done in the step above), repeat
> This could be done with VirtualBox, but maybe other alternatives based 
> on Xen or KVM or some such would be better. The main issue I see with 
> this is that the OpenGL / DirectSound tests will not run on the real 
> hardware (as usual), but maybe a Xen-like approach could help there.
> It would also make it easy to test on FreeBSD / Solaris, at least if 
> based on something like VirtualBox (not sure about the Xen-like 
> approaches).

Yep. Virtualizaion has 3D shortcomings.

I can see the way how to use pbuilder/pdebuild toolchain on dedicated 
user account in Debian to automate this in pretty safe and easy way.

pbuilder uses fakeroot/chroot for this and its use is a nobrainer, 
hellish easy and effective.

But this is limited to Debian systems only.
Positive is that we still have access to 3DHW (although not 

Anybody has experience with User-mode Linux kernels for that?


Another environment is OpenSolaris.
There we can leverage technologie of zones & ZFS for cheap 
pseudovirtualization and fast FS recovery using FS snapshots.


IMO there is no silver bullet to bite all problems on all OS.
We can build OS-specific toolchains around patchwatcher and I think 
that's more viable alternative.


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