[RFC][PATCH] fs: set xattrs in initramfs from regular files

Roberto Sassu roberto.sassu at huawei.com
Mon Nov 26 18:14:34 UTC 2018

On 11/26/2018 6:42 PM, Rob Landley wrote:
> On 11/26/18 6:56 AM, Roberto Sassu wrote:
>> On 11/23/2018 9:21 PM, Rob Landley wrote:
>>>> The aim of this patch is to provide the same functionality without
>>>> introducing a new format. The value of xattrs is placed in regular files
>>>> having the same file name as the files xattrs are added to, plus a
>>>> separator and the xattr name (<filename>.xattr-<xattr name>).
>>> I think you're solving the wrong problem, but that's just my opinion.
>> Instead of iterating over rootfs, would it be better to detect files
>> with extended attributes (from the file name) when the cpio image is
>> parsed by the kernel,
> Huh, I thought at first glance that's what the new approach _was_ doing.
> In band signaling in the archive is ugly, still requires new tools to create it,

For SElinux, the changes would be minimal. Instead of adding the
xattr, setfiles would create a regular file with the suffix, in the
temporary directory containing the files to be added to the CPIO image.

For IMA, I think there is also a tool to write file signatures. It
shouldn't be a problem to do the same modification I proposed for

> doesn't address the y2038 issue... (Although we could cheat, treat the time
> signature as unsigned, and buy another few decades.)
> But doing that in the filesystem _after_ you extract the archive is beyond ugly.
>> and call sys_lsetxattr() in do_copy()? This part
>> can be turned on by introducing a new type in the existing format (if
>> possible).
>> The impact of this alternative is very low, and LSMs/IMA would be able,
>> with minimum effort, to enforce policies on files in the initial ram
>> disk.
> The cpio extension isn't a big deal, I was pondering doing it myself in toybox
> (and submitting a kernel patch to consume the output) before Mimi approached me.
> (I did the initmpfs stuff already, I've stomped around in this area before.) I
> just didn't because mimi sent their patch first, so I waited for that to work
> its way though.
> Unfortunately, it's simple enough that there was a bit of bikeshedding. (You can
> store time in milliseconds as a 64 bit number without worrying about the range,
> but if you do it as nanoseconds you need two fields, but people spoke up and
> said "but if you don't store the nanoseconds the rounding causes spurious time
> differences when between filesystems and it confuses our build system about what
> has and hasn't changed"...)
> The new in-band signaling proposal is, at best, a hack. (Filename lengths are
> capped at 255 in the VFS, can you strip the xattrs on a long filename by having
> the extension fail to create in the filesystem? Or do you have an arbitrary max
> length on filenames because you need to reserve room for the extension?)

Yes, that would be a limitation. Alternatively, files with xattrs could
be placed in a subdir. For example:

/bin/.xattr-<xattr name>/cat


> Rob

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