vserver 0.21 changes log

vserver 0.21 changes log

previous versions: 0.20
Change log index

Enhancements

/usr/lib/vserver/vcheck: new

The vcheck utility has been created to verify package integrity in one vserver using the package database of another server. This is a first step to create a Linux server where one can answer the following questions:

Currently, there is no Linux distribution (no OS in fact) which may answer those questions. Once a server has been abused, the intruder may have changed quite a lot and may have cover his tracks. When you execute a command on such a machine, you can't really trust the output.

Now, on a linux server running vservers and no network service in the root server, you have one part of the solution. The root server and the kernel can't be tempered. So you can always trust the various commands you are running.

<BIG disclaimer>

Now proving that along its entire life, the root server has never been opened to crack attempt, is a difficult project. All I say is that a root vserver can't be modified from the vservers or anywhere else if it has no network service.

This is nevertheless one goal of the vserver project. Create a robust and trusted root server in which you can run all kind of more flexible virtual servers.

</BIG disclaimer>

Back to our normal schedule...

So if you trust the root server and you trust another (reference) vserver (one which is never running), you can use the vcheck utility to perform an rpm verify command, but using the RPM database in the reference vserver. The corresponding packages will be checked.

	vcheck --verify refvserver vserver1 vserver2 ...

vcheck has another option, --diffpkgs, to compare the package list in to vserver. You can see how to vservers evolved.

Argument quoting part 2

The vserver command was discarding argument topology. A fix was done in 0.20, but it was flawed. Now it should work fine. You can do things like:

	/usr/sbin/vserver server exec command "argument with space"

And the command will receive a single argument.

GCC 3.2 support

The various little fixes have been added so the project compiles properly using GCC 3.2.

newvserver enhancements

Two section has been added to the dialog. One is "authentication". It lets you enter the vserver root password, select if you want MD5 passwords and shadow passwords.

The other section is called NIS/Ldap. It lets you enter the NIS domain, NIS server, LDAP base dn and LDAP server.

Both section are normally found at the end of the installation of a Linux distribution.

This information is enabled in the vserver using the authconfig command. Not all distribution carry this command. We will have to figure out how to enable this on all distribution. If /usr/sbin/authconfig is missing in the vserver, the information is not applied. So newvserver works anyway.

newvserver: installing from mandrake 8.2 and redhat 8.0

I have modified newvserver to install from those OS. Mandrake 8.2 does not work yet (work in progress). Not sure why. RedHat 8.0 kind of work. The problem is really weird. When I execute the following script on RedHat 8.0, to install a Redhat 8.0 vserver newvserver do:

	/usr/lib/vserver/install-rh8.0 redhat full

Now, if you run this with the Redhat supplied kernel (2.4.18-14), it works. If you use a 2.4.19 kernel (2.4.19ctx-14 for example), rpm installs few package and then wait forever, trapped in a pause() system call.

I have not yet explain this behavior.

rebootmgr using pidfile

The rebootmgr service now uses a PID file to locate the process. This makes the system V init script more reliable. The script itself does not include the "function" helper script anymore. This is a redhat-ism and it was not using it anyway.

vserver --nodev option

Sometime, you wish to enter a vserver without enabling its network device. You often need this because the vserver is a copy and the real vserver is already running on another physical server. Enabling the device would cause clashes on the network.

The --nodev option tells vserver not to skip this step.

	/usr/sbin/vserver --nodev server enter

vserver: vlan support

A vserver may be installed on an IP number sitting on a different vlan (Virtual LAN). You specify the IPROOTDEV has device.vlannum (eth0.231) or the IPROOT using device.vlannum:IP.

An IP alias will be set on this virtual device after configuring it. It uses the loopback number as the default IP to configure the vlan device.

Bug fixes

capchroot: incompatible NSS plug-gins

capchroot is used to cross the vserver root and then select the proper UID to execute the command. Unfortunately, this program is started in the root server environment, then switch the root and then uses getpwnam to learn about the user ID of a named user.

to perform the getpwnam() call, glibc uses NSS (Name Service Switch) plug-gins to access the user information. These plug-gins are taken in the vserver environment and are not always compatible with the root server glibc.

To avoid this problem, we really need two utilities. One running in the root server, switching root and then calling another (/bin/id ?) in the vserver to learn about the user. This way, both utilities will be compatible with each world. Remember that a root server may be some Linux distribution/release and the vserver may be running a totally different distribution/release.

For now, I have fixed the problem somewhat, but it is not perfect Before switching root, I perform a getpwnam("root"), so the plug-gins are loaded. When I perform the real getpwnam, after the switch, the plug-gins are already in memory so they work. Further, if the target user is root, I do not need to perform any of this and uses the UID 0.

Note that this capchroot feature is needed by the suexec sub-command of the vserver command.

This cheat kind of works. It works for most people. Now, if your vserver is running NIS and not your root server, for example, then the NSS plug-gins loaded are not the one needed in the vserver. In this case it does not work.

We will need a better solution. For now, what we have will work for pretty much everybody.

Stopping a vserver on debian

The vserver script was not setting the PREVLEVEL environment variable before switching to runlevel 6. This has the effect of not stopping the services properly.