Linux, politics, and other interesting things
SE Linux is almost ready to use in Lenny. Currently I am waiting on the packages libsepol1 version 2.0.30-2, policycoreutils 2.0.49-3, and selinux-policy-default version 0.0.20080702-4 to make their way to testing. The first two should get there soon, the policy will take a little longer as I just made a new upload today (to make it correctly depend on libsepol1 and also some policy fixes).
Update: libsepol1 version 2.0.30-2 and policycoreutils 2.0.49-3 are now in Lenny (testing). Now I’m just waiting for the policy.
Ideally we would be able to pin the apt repositories to take just the packages we want from Unstable (here is a document on how it’s supposed to work ). That doesn’t work, so I also tried setting “APT::Default-Release “stable”;” in /etc/apt/apt.conf (as suggested on IRC). This gave better results than pinning (which seems to not work at all) but it still wanted to take unreasonably large numbers of packages from unstable.
Currently to get SE Linux in Lenny (Testing) working you must first upgrade everything to the testing versions, then install libsepol1 from Unstable (this is really important as until a few hours ago the Policy packages in Unstable didn’t depend on it). Then you install policycoreutils and finally the policy package which will be selinux-policy-default for almost everyone – I have not tested the MLS package (selinux-policy-mls) and it’s quite likely that it won’t work well.
The policycoreutils package has a bug related to Python libraries  which I don’t know how to fix. Any advice would be appreciated. It’s obvious that the package name needs to not contain a hyphen, but what the name should be and where the files should be stored. The release team have been pretty cooperative with my requests so far to get broken things fixed, hopefully I’ll find a solution to this (and the other similar issues) soon enough to avoid any great inconvenience to them. I’m sure that they will agree that significantly broken packages (which have syntax errors in scripts) need to be fixed before release.
There are also some last minute policy issues that need to be fixed. To properly test this I’m now running the server for my blog and mail server on Lenny with SE Linux. I think that I’m only one policy bug away from running in enforcing mode.
While the situation is pretty difficult at the moment (I’ve had a report forwarded to me from an OLS delegate who tried Lenny SE Linux with the older policy packages and got a bad result), I believe that once Lenny is released we will have the best ever support for SE Linux.
The Debian security team recently released an update to the SE Linux policy packages to match the recent updates to BIND . I was grateful that they did this – and without any significant involvement from me. I was asked to advise on the patch that they had written, I confirmed that it looked good (which took hardly any effort), and they did the rest (which appears to be a moderate amount of work). Given the situation it would have been understandable if they had decided that it was something that could be worked around.
I expect that SE Linux on Lenny will get more users than on Etch, so therefore more issues of this nature will be discovered so I expect to have more interaction with the Debian security group in future.