[cryptography] Just how bad is OpenSSL ?

Ben Laurie ben at links.org
Tue Oct 30 10:50:42 EDT 2012


On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 2:39 PM, Patrick Mylund Nielsen
<cryptography at patrickmylund.com> wrote:
> I would be happy to volunteer to move everything to Github. But it really is
> really, really easy to do, and the maintenance required is minimal. That or
> git+redmine or git+JIRA would be my suggestion.

The team has ruled out having the master at github.

>
>
> On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 3:28 PM, Ben Laurie <ben at links.org> wrote:
>>
>> On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM, Matthew Green <matthewdgreen at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > So:
>> >
>> > 1. What is the process by which you get OpenSSL contributors to notice a
>> > serious issue and apply a patch?
>>
>> I wouldn't know, I haven't tried :-)
>>
>> In my case, just ask (me, that is, not some mailing list). If the
>> issue is serious, I will likely apply the patch.
>>
>> > 2. What are the criteria for applying a patch? Is it just 'whatever
>> > interests the devs'? It seems that publishing an exploit works, but is that
>> > necessary?
>>
>> I think it can be taken as read that the devs are interested in the
>> security and stability of OpenSSL.
>>
>> > 3. It's 2012 -- why the **** is OpenSSL running its own ticket tracker
>> > and source control servers??? (RT is a disaster.)
>>
>> Damn good question. Probably because we don't have a volunteer to move
>> everything somewhere else and keep it running.
>>
>> > 4. What does it take to become an OpenSSL volunteer?
>>
>> :-) Like most (good) open source projects: sustained contribution.
>>
>> >
>> > Matt
>> >
>> > On Oct 30, 2012, at 10:12 AM, Ben Laurie <ben at links.org> wrote:
>> >
>> >> On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM, Jeffrey Walton <noloader at gmail.com>
>> >> wrote:
>> >>> On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 5:03 AM, Ben Laurie <ben at links.org> wrote:
>> >>>> On Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 10:34 PM, Jeffrey Walton <noloader at gmail.com>
>> >>>> wrote:
>> >>>>> On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 2:29 PM, John Case <case at sdf.org> wrote:
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> [SNIP]
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Apparently you think the best way to get a secure platform is to
>> >>>> apply
>> >>>> pressure through pointless security standards. I'd suggest your
>> >>>> efforts might be better spent supplying patches instead. Or, y'know,
>> >>>> talking to the authors of the s/w in question. You never know, they
>> >>>> might care.
>> >>> Ah, OK. My bad.
>> >>>
>> >>> I've tried supplying patches and filing bug report/enhancement
>> >>> requests.
>> >>>
>> >>> Here was a gentle patch for spelling corrections in a README -
>> >>> rejected.
>> >>> http://rt.openssl.org/Ticket/Display.html?user=guest&pass=guest&id=2401.
>> >>
>> >> AFAICS that is not rejected, it is ignored. There's a difference.
>> >>
>> >> Also, your patch appears to be reversed. Or your spelling is terrible
>> >> :-)
>> >>
>> >>> Here was a patch for Xcode awareness - rejected (is it fair to say
>> >>> when its sites for years without acknowledgement?).
>> >>>
>> >>> http://rt.openssl.org/Ticket/Display.html?user=guest&pass=guest&id=2402.
>> >>
>> >> Also not rejected.
>> >>
>> >> Now, I agree that having patches ignored isn't so great either, but
>> >> the problem is:
>> >>
>> >> * RT doesn't actually work, the guy who allegedly maintains our
>> >> infrastructure doesn't, and the team can't agree what to do about it
>> >> (not that its tried very hard).
>> >>
>> >> * OpenSSL is mostly maintained by volunteers, who may not have felt
>> >> particularly inspired by your patches, or may just have missed them.
>> >>
>> >> * When people are paid, they're generally paid to do specific things,
>> >> not to trawl through RT (if they even could) looking for patches to
>> >> adopt. I'm sure someone could pay for that if they want to, though.
>> >>
>> >> * CVS is a shit tool, too, making it hard to deal with patches - we've
>> >> even agreed as a team to move off it, but see above about
>> >> infrastructure :-)
>> >>
>> >>> I can't locate a bug report on the use of the uninitialized data.
>> >>> Perhaps I had the discussion on the developer's mailing list (I know
>> >>> I'm not imagining it, so my apologies).
>> >>>
>> >>> I am also aware that patches existed for some time for CCM mode, GCM
>> >>> mode, and SRP. In the case of GCM, IBM supplied the patches 5 or 10
>> >>> years earlier. None were acted upon.
>> >>
>> >> It always amuses me when bigcorp pays to have a patch made, but
>> >> somehow manages to fail to understand that the guy applying the patch
>> >> has to eat, too. Plus, ISTR the IP situation is none too clear on all
>> >> of these.
>> >>
>> >> This reminds me of the first attempt to FIPSify OpenSSL, where there
>> >> was zero budget for the developer - just money for test labs and the
>> >> like ("what do you mean you want money to work on it? I thought it was
>> >> free software!").
>> >>
>> >>> The project does not appear to want outside help. If I am drawing the
>> >>> wrong conclusion, please forgive me.
>> >>
>> >> I'll grant you that your very small patches could be considered help,
>> >> and it is a little unfortunate they they were ignored, but like I say,
>> >> RT is a shit tool, at least as implemented at OpenSSL, as is CVS (I
>> >> notice you didn't supply the needed 4 patches, just a single one) and
>> >> no-one's paying anyone to pick patches up from it, particularly.
>> >>
>> >> The rest of your "help" appears to be specifying flags you'd like to
>> >> be used and expecting us to do the work for you. Which I actually
>> >> might, I find that kind of thing therapeutic, but you get my point.
>> >>
>> >> I think the project would welcome help - but it needs to be useful help
>> >> :-)
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