Some ideas and concerns regarding fakeroot
Debianizing a package often requires hacking around in Makefile to make
the package install in debian/tmp or so. The fakeroot package is already
messing around with the permissions of files and buiding a file index in
ram I guess. Could we have the following functionality to avoid the
editing of makefiles:
1. There is a environment variable VIRTUAL_ROOT which is set by the
maintainer to the debian/tmp directory.
2. If the installation is trying to write a file to a directory where
there are no permission to write (package is build under regular userid)
then redirect the file into VIRTUAL_ROOT/path and create all leading
3. If a file is opened for reading with an absolute path then first look
into VIRTUAL_ROOT/path before trying to access the real path.
Maybe the above would make it extremely easy to debianize software in the
The fakeroot package simulates virtual permissions and might be able to
simulate virtual files such as an /etc/passwd file. It would be a big
security hole if someone could develope a library that can be preloaded
with LD_PRELOAD which results in the ability to tamper with the contents
of /etc/passwd by redirecting it somewhere else. Fakeroot seems to show to
me that this is possible. The LD_PRELOAD function should be somehow
safeguarded. I do not want any of the users on my system to have that
Simple hack with such a preloaded library: Substitute a known password for
root in /etc/passwd and run su. Type the password and you are superuser.
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