AF_UNIX status report

Joe Lowe
Thu Oct 29 21:53:33 GMT 2020

On 2020-10-29 13:19, Ken Brown via Cygwin-developers wrote:
> On 10/27/2020 5:43 AM, Corinna Vinschen wrote:
>> On Oct 26 18:04, Ken Brown via Cygwin-developers wrote:
>>> I've made at least rudimentary implementations of all the
>>> fhandler_socket_unix functions (including those in for which
>>> there were previously only placeholders.
>>> I've pushed everything to topic/af_unix, including a merge with 
>>> master as of
>>> a couple days ago.
>>> I've cobbled together a few test programs and put them in
>>> winsup/cygwin/socket_tests on the topic/af_unix branch.  I haven't 
>>> taken the
>>> time to automate the tests, so they all have to be run 
>>> interactively.  There
>>> is a Makefile to build the test programs and a README.txt that shows 
>>> how to
>>> run them.
>>> One thing I haven't yet done is to think about (or systematically test)
>>> datagram sockets.  I'm sure there's quite a bit of code that won't 
>>> work for
>>> them.
>>> Aside from datagram sockets, there are still a few things that I'm 
>>> working
>>> on, but I'm close to the point where I could use some input:
>>> 1. I've littered the code in and with
>>> FIXME comments on which I'd like advice.
>> I'll look into it.
>>> 2. I haven't given any thought at all as to how to implement SCM_RIGHTS
>>> ancillary data.  I could definitely use suggestions on that before I 
>>> start
>>> thrashing around.
>> I have only vague ideas at that point.  Assuming we can replace the
>> socket implemantation with the pipe implementation, what we have is a
>> pipe which can impersonate the peer at least from the server side, and
>> it knows the client process.  This in turn can be used to duplicate
>> handles.  So what we could do is to define fhandler methods which create
>> a matching serialization  and deserialization of the fhandler data, plus
>> duplicating the handles for the other process, sent over the pipe as
>> admin package.  This must work in either direction, regardless if the
>> server or the client sends the SCM_RIGHTS block.
> This sounds reasonable.
> I have no experience with serialization.  Do you happen to know of a 
> good example that I could look at?
> Thanks.
> Ken

I have experience building a secure implementation of SCM_RIGHTS type 
functionality over named pipe on Windows. This is not a small amount of 
code if you want to handle processes running as different users or 
privilege levels, and if you don't want to be a source of security 

You might consider building an implementation of SCM_RIGHTS that is only 
expected to work for processes running as the same user and privilege 
level. At least this would be a good starting point. This would cover 
the requirements of some unix code bases that use SCM_RIGHTS , and 
avoids significant security issues and complexity.


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