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From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: CVS & SSL
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 01:57:35 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 15:26:17 (-0400), Derek R. Price wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: CVS & SSL
> > Maybe I need to ask for people to help me to produce a new release of
> > CVS based on my current private work so that a safe alternative
> > implementation is publicly available.....
> If you have this much time on your hands for this sort of thing,
> please work _with_ us.  Few enough people contribute as it is.  Fewer
> still that know the code base very well.  Submit patches.

I don't have that much free time on my hands.  If I did I'd long ago
have released a forked version of CVS that did not have any of the
features I consider dangerous or counterproductive.  In fact if I had
that much available time I'd probably even have rewritten it from
scratch by now!

>   Discuss the issues.

I am taking the time to discuss the issues!  I very nearly unsubscribed
from this list simply because of the spam problems and the blatant
unwillingness of to do anything proactive about them.  I'm
sticking it out (this is the last list I subscribe to) because I
still have a bit of a stake in using CVS and I don't want to see the
community continue to misunderstand the security issues inherent in
using CVS.

>   Please don't try to limit CVS to a single security model, however.
> SSH & RSH are all well and good, but they are not available for every
> platform and some sysadmins are understandably reluctant to grant
> shell access to every CVS user.

I am most definitely not limiting CVS to any security model!  I am
arguing vehemently for total elimination of any *and* all security
models from *within* CVS.  CVS has no business even suggesting an
appropriate security model for anyone -- in a client/server
implementation it need only make use of *any* external tool capable of
connecting it to an instance of itself acting as a server on some other

Furthermore CVS has no need to include any built-in security model or
even any built-in communications support, not on any modern platform!

You're free to use any external remote job execution tool that meets
your own security requirements.  If it's as simple as 'nc' and 'nc -I'
then that's your business.  If you want to use rsh in the clear then
that's your business to.  If you choose to use SSH, or stunnel, or any
of the above in combination with a VPN then that's fine too.  You should
feel free to run your CVS server on a single-user operating system if
you want.  Issues of security should remain totally orthogonal to CVS
(and indeed should be deemed inappropriate for this very forum!).

                                                        Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <address@hidden>     <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>;   Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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