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SubjectRe: [Linux-ima-user] Initramfs and IMA Appraisal

On 12/29/2014 03:46 PM, Mimi Zohar wrote:
> On Mon, 2014-12-29 at 14:34 -0600, Rob Landley wrote:
>> On 12/29/2014 07:45 AM, Mimi Zohar wrote:
>>> On Thu, 2014-11-27 at 10:15 +0100, Christophe Fillot wrote:
>>>>> Are you using an initrd not an initramfs? According to
>>>>> Documentation/filesystems/ramfs-rootfs-initramfs.txt, "If
>>>>> is enabled, rootfs will use tmpfs instead of ramfs by default".
>>>> Yes, that what I thought too, but it seems that it is not really the
>>>> case because of this test:
>>>> if (IS_ENABLED(CONFIG_TMPFS) && !saved_root_name[0] &&
>>>> (!root_fs_names || strstr(root_fs_names, "tmpfs"))) {
>>>> err = shmem_init();
>>>> is_tmpfs = true;
>>>> } else {
>>>> err = init_ramfs_fs();
>>>> }
>>> [CC'ing Rob Landley, lsm, lkml]
>>> Thanks! "saved_root_name" is set to the boot command line "root="
>>> option, which in my case is the UUID. I'm not sure why real root should
>>> impact the initramfs tmpfs/ramfs decision.
>>> Unless there is a good explanation, did you want to post a patch to
>>> remove the test?
>> I added support last year, here's the start of the patch series:
>> The logic is that if you specify a fallback root via root=, then you're
>> not staying on rootfs (that's what root= _means_, "here is the root
>> filesystem the kernel is to mount over rootfs"), and thus the extra
>> infrastructure for tmpfs instead of ramfs is unnecessary.
> Thanks Rob for the explanation. The problem is that ramfs does not
> support extended attributes, while tmpfs does.

If you're _using_ initramfs/initmpfs, there's no reason to specify a root=.

> The boot loader could
> "measure" (trusted boot) the initramfs, but as the initramfs is
> generated on the target system, the initramfs is not signed, preventing
> it from being appraised (secure Boot). To close the initramfs integrity
> appraisal gap requires verifying the individual initramfs file
> signatures, which are stored as extended attributes.

Faced with the phrases "trusted boot" and "integrity appraisal", I plead
the third.

(In the wake of the Snowden infodump, people no longer want to use the
elliptic curve cryptography the NSA designed, but they still happily
base their system configuration on SELinux with a stack of thousands of
rules you just have to take on faith. Possibly they're unaware the NSA
designed and still maintains SELinux? Dunno...)

>> Possibly the documentation needs to elaborate, but I expect what we
>> really need is a CONFIG_VERBOSE_ROOT_SETUP that sticks in a bunch of
>> printfs so the /dev/console output explains what it's doing. ("could not
>> exec /init out of initramfs (errno %d, file %s), falling back to
>> root=\nAdd blather=1 to kernel cmdline to see cpio
>> filenames/permissions.", and so on. Where "actual exec" shows where your
>> dynamic linker is when that's what wasn't there.)
> To add to the confusion
> Documentation/filesystems/ramfs-rootfs-initramfs.txt says, "If
> CONFIG_TMPFS is enabled, rootfs will use tmpfs instead of ramfs by
> default." This statement should be modified to reflect the actual code.

Actually I modified the code to reflect the documentation last year. (I
wrote the docs in 2005, the initmpfs code in 2013.)

The rootfs code _does_ use tmpfs by default. Specifying root= disables
it, because it indicates you aren't using ramfs but are requesting the
kernel overmount it with another filesystem before launching PID 1.

That's what root= _means_.

I can add a paragraph describing what root= means and that it's
inappropriate to use it with ramfs in general? (And that root=/dev/ram0
is a nonsensical option despite what some bits of the internet seem to

> Mimi


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