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Re: concerns about Salsa

Tollef Fog Heen writes ("Re: concerns about Salsa"):
> Russell Stuart :
> > [on service owners not having root on DSA-managed service hosts:]
> >
> > I accept that's doesn't leave the Salsa team with much choice, but it
> > still leaves me scratching my head.  Containers / VPS's / VM have been
> > a thing for years now.  They solve this separation problem in a way
> > that reduces the workload for everyone.
> At the risk of extrapolating from a single data point, I think Alioth
> showed that using VMs does not fix this automatically.  (I'm not picking
> on the Alioth maintainers, I used to be one of them. The job of
> maintaining your own separate infrastructure has a non-trivial cost.)

I don't think VMs or containers are the answer here because these
service "hosts" are VMs already.  The real question is whether it is
necessary or desirable for service owners to sometimes have root on
service VMs.

As a service owner who has chosen to run the service out of git
for other reasons, I don't really care.  But someone who wants to run
the service from packages might have a different view.

I don't know if DSA have a document which explains why they are
reluctant to give root access to service owners, but, speculating:

* If service owners have root, the logfiles, firewalls, etc., on the
  VM will be less trustworthy.  This might mean that measures need to
  be taken *outside* the VM to protect the rest of the Internet (and,
  the reputation of *.debian.org) from any problems on the host.

* Sharing root privilege between DSA and service owners in an
  effective way will require a level of cooperation and communication,
  and responsiveness by service owners, which DSA might quite
  reasonably feel many service owners are not able to maintain.

One possible approach would be to provide service owners with a
restricted ability to install, operate and configure a package other
than as root.

For example, userv (or restricted sudo command) facilities could be
provided to:
  * Install the .deb for some set of package(s) out of any
    Debian suite including experimental or
    foo-backports-sloppy-proposed or whatever
  * git pull into the local etckeeper a set of changes which are
    only to files in /etc for the service in question
  * run    service start/stop/reload

(Service owners on DSA administered machines are already provided with
a way su to the service owner user.)

It would only be worth doing the work to set that up if there are
actually service owners who want to run their service out of packages.


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

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