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hardware problems on www.mirbsd.org

14.01.2016 by tg@
Tags: bug hardware news rant

I just got wd0a: uncorrectable data error reading fsbn style messages in dmesg(8) on the machine behind our website. This is rather unfortunate; it’s possible the website will be down for a while, depending on what service I’ll be able to get for the antique thing.

Update: it’s still there after a reboot; I’ll most likely ask the hoster for a hardware check early next week and take the website down durinf that.

izabera did make a good point in IRC the other day for why we will need to have two locales at the very least in MirBSD – C and C.UTF-8 (the latter being widespread enough by now, thanks to me, interestingly enough. He uses code which leads to unexpected results…

	$ generate() { tr -dc "[:alnum:]" < /dev/urandom | dd bs="$len" count=1; }
	$ len=10; echo $(generate 2>/dev/null)
	Ut流54Ȫf

… because tr(1) was the first utility I converted to Unicode, to explore possibilities and craft the OPTU encoding and, thus, “流” is, indeed, an alphanumeric character.

This implies two things: we need to change MirBSD libc locale functions back to support two charsets (and make setlocale(3) match), and mksh(1) should implement locale tracking (to change set ±U whenever one of the relevant parameters (${LC_ALL:-${LC_CTYPE:-${LANG:-C}}}) changes in the session; users could still set utf8-mode manually though). For this to not break anything, we’ll have to audit scripts in MirBSD though (usually adding export LC_ALL=C at their begin is enough, and we need this for portable scripts anyway) and remove all occurrences of #ifndef __MirBSD__ before setlocale(3) calls in applications. This will take a while.


Secondly, I opened an issue with POSIX about handling of the (deprecated, and for good reason) `-style command substitutions. The GNU autoconf texinfo manual gives good advice for portable shell scripts, and we all knew that foo="bar `echo \"baz\"`" wasn’t portable due to use of more than one set of double quotes, but my (and the yash authors’) reading of the standard (and mksh R52’s POSIX mode) make it set $foo to bar "baz" instead of the historic bar baz now, and I wish to get this clarified (and, possibly, the standard changed to match historic practice, as this breaks at least the Acrobat Reader 5 start script). Nothing has been decided yet (due to the holidays, I’m sure), but we got input from some other people involved in shell.

So, if any #!/bin/sh scripts break or behave weirdly with R52, you now know why. I’m waiting for an official statement.

mksh R52 released

12.12.2015 by tg@
Tags: mksh pcli

The MirBSD Korn Shell R52 was published today. While there are still several known bugs, this is a release that primarily fixes lots of these, and, as with R51, we have no known regressions. Some of the itinerary for R52 has moved to R53 instead, as some bugfixes change the shell language and thus warrant a new major version, which is why this is not R51b, and they accumulated and could use some testing ;-)

This release has a nōnzero chance to break existing scripts that use some extension features – I had to quote some tildes in dot.mkshrc and a variable expansion in ${x/y"$z"} in MirWebseite (the $z) – twice!. As usual, test!

In less related news, a new release of the FixedMisc [MirOS] font is available (in BDF form and no conflict with the system Fixed [Misc] font); our CVS has the sources in bdfctool(1) format.

The MirBSD Korn Shell R51 was published today. This is a feature release clearly, but still something a lot of people would wish to use. It contains several known severe bugs, but they all are no regressions, i.e. they exist in R50f already.

This one is kinda an early release, as I wish to have those known issues all fixed, but the changes – both deep down and enduser-visible – already warrant people looking for breakages, plus it makes synchronisation with mksh-os2 easier.

mksh R52 will follow, as bugfix release, pretty soon. Itinerary:

  • Fixes for as much of these known bugs as possible (code rewrites)
  • Unicode 8
  • New feature: print -a
  • Fixes for bugs reported against R51
  • Possibly more EBCDIC and OS/2 code synchronisation
  • Maybe a dead useful debug tool…

Once that’s out, I’ll roll up the fixes into R50g, so that particular code branch is not dead yet either ☺

And afterwards, at least mksh(1)-wise – I have got a lot of other things on my plate after all – we can attempt getting EBCDIC and maybe OS/2 to a state where the code is included in CVS.

mksh R50d released

07.10.2014 by tg@
Tags: bug debian mksh news pcli

The last MirBSD Korn Shell update broke update-initramfs because I accidentally introduced a regression in field splitting while fixing other bugs – sorry!

mksh R50d was just released to fix that, and a small NULL pointer dereference found by Goodbox on IRC. Thanks to my employer tarent for a bit of time to work on it.

mksh R50c released, security fix

03.10.2014 by tg@
Tags: android bug debian mksh news pcli release security

The MirBSD Korn Shell has got a new security and maintenance release.

This release fixes one mksh(1)-specific issue when importing values from the environment. The issue has been detected by the main developer during careful code review, looking at whether the shell is affected by the recent “shellshock” bugs in GNU bash, many of which also affect AT&T ksh93. (The answer is: no, none of these bugs affects mksh.) Stephane Chanzelas kindly provided me with an in-depth look at how this can be exploited. The issue has not got a CVE identifier because it was identified as low-risk. The problem here is that the environment import filter mistakenly accepted variables named “FOO+” (for any FOO), which are, by general environ(7) syntax, distinct from “FOO”, and treated them as appending to the value of “FOO”. An attacker who already had access to the environment could so append values to parameters passed through programs (including sudo(8) or setuid) to shell scripts, including indirectly, after those programs intended to sanitise the environment, e.g. invalidating the last $PATH component. It could also be used to circumvent sudo’s environment filter which protected against the vulnerability of an unpatched GNU bash being exploited.

tl;dr: mksh not affected by any shellshock bugs, but we found a bug of our own, with low impact, which does not affect any other shell, during careful code review. Please do update to mksh R50c quickly.

mksh R50b released

03.09.2014 by tg@
Tags: mksh news pcli

The MirBSD Korn Shell has got a new bugfix release. Thought you’d want to know ☺

mksh R50, jupp 27 released

29.06.2014 by tg@
Tags: jupp mksh news pcli

Both the MirBSD Korn Shell and jupp – the editor which sucks less have seen new releases today. Please test them, report all bugs, and otherwise enjoy all the bugfixes.

Other subprojects will also have new releases… once I get around doing so after hacking them…

Update 03.07.2014: New release for MirCPIO, that is, cpio(1) and pax(1) and tar(1) in a somewhat portable package.

-r--r--r-- 4 tg miros-cvssrc 141973 Jul 3 19:56 /MirOS/dist/mir/cpio/paxmirabilis-20140703.cpio.gz

Heartbleed vs. Startcom / StartSSL

09.04.2014 by tg@
Tags: bug debian news rant security work

First of all, good news, MirBSD is not vulnerable to The Heartbleed Bug due to my deliberate choice to stick to an older OpenSSL version. My inquiry (in various places) as to what precisely could leak when a vulnerable client connected to a nōn-vulnerable server has yet to be answered, though we can assume private key material is safe.

Now the bad news: while the CA I use¹ and a CA I don’t use offer free rekeying (in general), a CA I also use occasionally² refuses to do that. The ugly: they will not even revoke the certificates, so any attacker who gained your key, for example when you have been using a certificate of theirs on a Debian system, will be able to use it (e.g. to MITM your visitors traffic) unless you shell over lots of unreasonable money per certificate. (Someone wrote they got the fee waived, but others don’t, nor do I. (There’s also a great Twitter discussion-thingy about this involving Zugschlus, but I won’t link Twitter because they are not accessible to Lynx users like me and other Planet Debian authors.)

① I’ve been using GoDaddy privately for a while, paid for a wildcard certificate for *.mirbsd.org, and later also at work. I’ve stopped using it privately due to current lack of money.

② Occasionally, for nōn-wildcard gratis SSL certificates for HTTP servers. Startcom’s StartSSL certificates are unusable for real SSL as used in SMTP STARTTLS anyway, so usage isn’t much.

Now I’ve got a dilemma here. I’ve created a CA myself, to use with MirBSD infrastructure and things like that – X.509 certificates for my hosts (especially so I can use them for SMTP) and possibly personal friends (whose PGP key I’ve signed with maximum trust after the usual verification) but am using a StartSSL certificate for www.mirbsd.org as my GoDaddy wildcard certificate expires in a week or so (due to the aforementioned monetary issues), and I’d rather not pay for a limited certificate only supporting a single vhost. There is absolutely no issue with that certificate and key (only ever generated and used on MirBSD, only using it in Apache mod_ssl). Then, there’s this soon-to-be tax-exempt non-profit society of public utility I’m working with, whose server runs Debian, and which is affected, but has been using a StartSSL certificate for a while. Neither the society nor I can afford to pay for revocation, and we do not see any possible justification for this especially in the face of CVE-2014-0160. I expect a rekey keeping the current validity end date, and would accept a revocation even if I were unable to get a new certificate, since even were we to get a certificate for the society’s domain from someplace else, an attacker could still MITM us with the previous one from Startcom.

The problem here is: I’d really love to see (all of!) Startcom dropped from the global list of trustworthy CAs, but then I’d not know from where to get a cert for MirBSD; Globalsign is not an option because I will not limit SSL compatibility to a level needed to pass their “quality” test… possibly GoDaddy, ISTR they offer a free year to Open Source projects… no idea about one for the society… but it would solve the problem of not getting the certificates revoked. For everyone.

I am giving Startcom time until Friday after $dayjob (for me); after that, I’ll be kicking them off MirBSD’s CA bundle and will be lobbying for Debian and Mozilla to do the same.

Any other ideas of how to deal with that? I’d probably pay 5 € for a usable certificate accepted by people (including old systems, such as MSIE 5.0 on Win2k and the likes) without questioning… most of the time, I only serve public content anyway and just use SSL to make the NSA’s job more difficult (and even when not I’m not dealing with any payment information, just the occasional login protected area).

By the way, is there any way to access the information that is behind a current-day link to groups.google.com with Lynx or Pine? I can’t help but praise GMane for their NNTP interface.

ObFunfact: just when I was finished writing this wlog entry, I got a new eMail “Special offer just for you.” from GoDaddy. Sadly, no offer for a 5 € SSL certificate, just the usual 20-35% off coupon code.

Server and service moves

04.04.2014 by tg@
Tags: snapshot

I’m currently moving servers and services, and have just installed MirBSD natively on the new www-to-be, fish (part of FreeWRT’s legacy). This means that some services will be temporarily unavailable in the days (*cough*) to come. Also, we will temporarily be restricted to Legacy IP availability, losing IP connectivity until I manage to set up a tunnel at the new location. Sorry for doing this “at the last minute” but it’s an involved process. On the other hand, I did already get a new SSL certificate for www.mirbsd.org (from Startcom), and begun operating a MirBSD CA (for the forth time) for all our other X.509 needs (mostly, server-to-server SSL connections including auth’d SMTP relaying).

In true “rolling release” fashion, there is a new MirBSD snapshot for the i386 architecture available in the usual netinstall location. I removed all MirPorts binary packages for previous snapshots, since there were quite some changes (libc major bump, C++ removal, etc.) in base in the meantime. (Expect some fallout. I just realised I cancelled the Manitu server (for monetary reasons), which is blazingly fast, before I was able to finish doing a usable G++ 4.4 port…)

FreeWRT Archive

30.03.2014 by tg@
Tags: archaeology freewrt news pcli snapshot

As previously announced, the FreeWRT Project has been archived. You can access the content at the FreeWRT Archive Site on the MirWebseite.

ObRant: DST (Sommerzeit) sucks!

Thanks to Robert Scheck, jupp – the Editor which sucks less (a WordStar™-compatible Unix editor with lots of features, including a hex editor) is currently on its way to Fedora and EPEL (RHEL/CentOS 5 and 6).

Depending on your distribution, you will have it available within one to two weeks, I’m being told.

This adds another distribution to the list; jupp has been available in Debian and its derivates (some of which may not be named) for some time (due to user request), and the webpage contains Win32 binaries (made with Cygwin, an oldish version to be compatible to Win9x).

jupp is especially useful as programmers’ editor, but also used in teaching school-aged kids the joys of IT; Natureshadow has prepared a cheat sheet, which we will internationalise and localise, then link from the jupp homepage – so stay tuned! (I guess we’ll also need a concise list of jupp features, in lieu of advertising.)

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