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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 01/12] fs-verity: add a documentation file
On Sat, Dec 22, 2018 at 08:10:07PM -0800, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> Pretty much every file format has the ability to put arbitrary blocks
> of information into a file somewhere the tools which don't know about
> it will skip it. For example, ZIP "includes an extra field facility
> within file headers, which can be used to store extra data not defined
> by existing ZIP specifications, and which allow compliant archivers that
> do not recognize the fields to safely skip them. Header IDs 0–31 are
> reserved for use by PKWARE. The remaining IDs can be used by third-party
> vendors for proprietary usage. " (Wikipedia)
>
> ELF, PNG, PDF and many other formats have the ability to put data
> _somewhere_. It might not be at the tail of the file, but there's
> somewhere to do it.
>
> (I appreciate this isn't what Linus is asking for, but I'm pointing out
> that this is by no means as intractable as you make it sound.)

That design would require the fs-verity code to know the type of eacho
file, and where to find the in-band Merkle tree for each file type
that we wanted to support. And if you wanted to use fs-verity to
protect a sudoers text configuration file (for example), we'd have to
teach sudo how to ignore the userspace visible Merkle tree.

So I agree with you that it's *possible*. But it's ***ugly***. *Way*
uglier than putting the Merkle tree at the end of the file data and
then making it invisible to userspace.

Cheers,

- Ted

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