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SubjectRe: [PATCH security-next v4 23/32] selinux: Remove boot parameter
On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 2:34 PM, James Morris <> wrote:
> On Wed, 3 Oct 2018, Kees Cook wrote:
>> On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 11:28 AM, James Morris <> wrote:
>> > On Wed, 3 Oct 2018, Kees Cook wrote:
>> >
>> >> On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 11:17 AM, James Morris <> wrote:
>> >> > On Tue, 2 Oct 2018, John Johansen wrote:
>> >> >> To me a list like
>> >> >> lsm.enable=X,Y,Z
>> >> >
>> >> > What about even simpler:
>> >> >
>> >> > lsm=selinux,!apparmor,yama
>> >>
>> >> We're going to have lsm.order=, so I'd like to keep it with a dot
>> >> separator (this makes it more like module parameters, too). You want
>> >> to mix enable/disable in the same string? That implies you'd want
>> >> implicit enabling (i.e. it complements the builtin enabling), which is
>> >> opposite from what John wanted.
>> >>
>> >
>> > Why can't this be the order as well?
>> That was covered extensively in the earlier threads. It boils down to
>> making sure we do not create a pattern of leaving LSMs disabled by
>> default when they are added to the kernel. The v1 series used
>> security= like this:
>> + security= [SECURITY] An ordered comma-separated list of
>> + security modules to attempt to enable at boot. If
>> + this boot parameter is not specified, only the
>> + security modules asking for initialization will be
>> + enabled (see CONFIG_DEFAULT_SECURITY). Duplicate
>> + or invalid security modules will be ignored. The
>> + capability module is always loaded first, without
>> + regard to this parameter.
>> This meant booting "security=apparmor" would disable all the other
>> LSMs, which wasn't friendly at all. So "security=" was left alone (to
>> leave it to only select the "major" LSM: all major LSMs not matching
>> "security=" would be disabled). So I proposed "lsm.order=" to specify
>> the order things were going to be initialized in, but to avoid kernels
>> booting with newly added LSMs forced-off due to not being listed in
>> "lsm.order=", it had to have implicit fall-back for unlisted LSMs.
>> (i.e. anything missing from lsm.order would then follow their order in
>> CONFIG_LSM_ORDER, and anything missing there would fall back to
>> link-time ordering.) However, then the objection was raised that this
>> didn't provide a way to explicitly disable an LSM. So I proposed
>> lsm.enable/disable, and John argued for CONFIG_LSM_ENABLE over
> Ok, but it may end up being clearer, simpler, and thus more secure to just
> have a single way to configure LSM.
> For example:
> - All LSMs which are built are NOT enabled by default
> - You specify enablement and order via a Kconfig:
> CONFIG_LSM="selinux,yama"
> - This can be entirely overridden by a boot param:
> lsm="apparmor,landlock"

This doesn't work with how SELinux and AppArmor do their bootparams,
unfortunately. (And Paul and Stephen have expressed that the
documented selinux on/off must continue to work.) For example, let's
say you've built an Ubuntu kernel with:


(i.e. you want SELinux available, but not enabled, so it's left out of

Then someone boots the system with:

selinux=1 security=selinux

In what order does selinux get initialized relative to yama?
(apparmor, flagged as a "legacy major", would have been disabled by
the "security=" not matching it.)

The LSM order needs to be defined externally to enablement because
something may become enabled when not listed in the order.

Now, maybe I misunderstood your earlier suggestion, and what you meant
was to do something like:


to mean "put selinux here in the order, but don't enable it". Then the
problem becomes what happens to an LSM that has been built in but not
listed in CONFIG_LSM?

Related to that, this means that when new LSMs are added, they will
need to be added to any custom CONFIG_LSM= or lsm= parameters. If
that's really how we have to go, I'll accept it, but I think it's a
bit unfriendly. :P

Another reason I don't like it is because it requires users to know
about all the LSMs to make changes. One LSM can't be added/removed
without specifying ALL of the LSMs. (i.e. there is no trivial way to
enable/disable a single LSM without it growing its own enable/disable
code as in SELinux/AppArmor. I'd hoped to make that easier for both
users and developers.) Again, I can live with it, but I think it's

I just want to have a direct I can go that meets all the requirements.
:) I'm fine to ignore my sense of aesthetics if everyone can agree on
the code.

> And that's it.
> Of course, capabilities is always enabled and not be visible to kconfig or
> boot params.

Correct. I've made sure that's true in all the versions.

BTW, there doesn't seem to be disagreement about the earlier part of
the series, though (patches 1-10). Could these go into -next just so I
don't have to keep sending them? :)

LSM: Correctly announce start of LSM initialization Avoid copy/paste of security_init section
LSM: Rename .security_initcall section to .lsm_info
LSM: Remove initcall tracing
LSM: Convert from initcall to struct lsm_info Move LSM_TABLE into INIT_DATA
LSM: Convert security_initcall() into DEFINE_LSM()
LSM: Record LSM name in struct lsm_info
LSM: Provide init debugging infrastructure
LSM: Don't ignore initialization failures



Kees Cook
Pixel Security

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