Maintenance policies and early considerations III

Agustin Benito Bethencourt <agustin.benito@...>


the below considerations were discussed during the Members meeting. There is no conclusion yet about how to proceed.

++ Security fixes

+++ Out-of-tree drivers

The embedded systems that CIP will be used in will also often require out-of-tree drivers and will sometimes include other changes of unknown quality to their kernel. It needs to be made clear to members that these modifications are unsupported, and that when they want the CIP core team to address a bug found in such a modified kernel they must first demonstrate that it exists in the CIP source release.

+++ Security updates

Commercial Linux based distributions like RHEL/SLE typically has security updates available for the most serious issues (such as privilege escalation) within a few days of them being publicly known, if not on the first day.

CIP may be able to achieve this with its source releases but its members may take much longer to release and deploy binary updates, maybe due to valid concerns about the risk of regression or limited opportunities to deploy updates. In the worst case, they may use CIP as an advertising/compliance point but rarely bother to update. For this reason Ben H. thinks it's important to draw on the work of the Kernel Self-Protection Project to add mitigations against common types of vulnerability. That work is slowly filtering into mainline and at least some of it could be backported.

+++ Request to members from maintainer

During the meeting Ben requested CIP members to provide him some guidelines or policies currently followed to choose security patches. This information will hopefully provide some light that help maintainers to define some basic policies for choosing security fixes. This policies need to be tested over time.

Due to the length of the maintenance period, it is unlikely that the same person/team maintain the kernel for the entire life cycle so the main policies at least need to be left written.

Best Regards
Agustin Benito Bethencourt
Principal Consultant - FOSS at Codethink

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