[nycbug-talk] FreeBSD security and errata "P numbers"

Mark Saad mark.saad at ymail.com
Tue Jan 11 09:58:05 EST 2011

  I know there have been a few discussions about how the current
FreeBSD security and errata   "P numbers" are implemented .
For starters the "-p numbers " are currently only implemented via
newvers.sh as BRANCH variables .

Take this snippit from newvers.sh on FreeBSD 7.3-RELEASE

if [ "X${BRANCH_OVERRIDE}" != "X" ]; then

That's it, when you rebuild your kernel using updated sources the
kernel's RELEASE is set to $REVISON-$BRANCH
in this case 7.3-RELEASE-p3 .

Think about this point, say in BRANCH  p1, and p2 there are no kernel
bugs, freebsd-update will never update the
BRANCH variable in the kernel on your system as it has not downloaded
a new kernel compiled with the new BRANCH variable.

Freebsd-update uses its magic shell scripts to compare your running
system with an update server's binaries and bspatch(s)
by using this its able to tell you if you are running BRANCH -pN or -pN+1 .

Well what do I do when I cant get to the update server and I never
have the sources on my computer. I would not be able to verify
what actual BRANCH I am running with out serious checking.

More commonly I have a group of servers I want o verify what kernel
they are running and what they have installed. I can manually create a
list of hashes, md5, sha1 etc, for known kernels and check uname
and the hashs for /boot/kernel/kernel . This is not quick to whip this
up. It would be
nice if there was a better way to check this.

Well what do you do about this talk ?  I have seen a few solution,
some of them are simple from creating a /etc/release file with some
info in it, to building system packages for parts of the base system
and kernel once a fiscal quarter like 8.0-RELEASE-2010Q4 .

So I said it syspkg (system packages) , netbsd had a project a few
years ago to build installable packages for base parts of the system .
This thread sums up what happened with that


the most memorable quote here is

"anyone doing the work is likely to encounter a vocal minority of
users who think packages are the work of satan, which would be discouraging."

So like I said what do you do ?


Mark Saad
mark.saad at ymail.com

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