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Date:	Thu, 3 Feb 2011 16:49:08 -0800 (PST)
To:	"Serge E. Hallyn" <>
cc:	Gergely Nagy <>,
	Linux Kernel Mailing List <>,
	James Morris <>
Subject: Re: CAP_SYSLOG, 2.6.38 and user space

On Thu, 3 Feb 2011, Serge E. Hallyn wrote:

> Quoting Gergely Nagy (
>> On Thu, 2011-02-03 at 15:32 +0000, Serge E. Hallyn wrote:
>>>> Back in november, a patch was merged into the kernel (in  commit
>>>> ce6ada35bdf710d16582cc4869c26722547e6f11), that splits CAP_SYSLOG out of
>>>> Sadly, this has an unwelcomed consequence, that any userspace syslogd
>>>> that formerly used CAP_SYS_ADMIN will stop working, unless upgraded, or
>>>> otherwise adapted to the change.
>>>> However, updating userspace isn't that easy, either, if one wants to
>>>> support multiple kernels with the same userspace binary: pre-2.6.38, one
>>>> needs CAP_SYS_ADMIN, but later kernels will need CAP_SYS_ADMIN. It would
>>>> be trivial to keep both, but that kind of defeats the purpose of
>>> The idea would be to only use both when you detect a possibly older
>>> kernel.
>> I was considering that, but... how do I reliably detect an older kernel?
>> So far, I didn't find a reliable way with which I can detect a kernel
>> version at run-time (apart from parsing utsname)
> ...  Why not parse utsname?

because the name may be different on different systems, a generic software 
package is not going to be able to interpret them all.

>>> However, you're right of course, I really should have provided some way
>>> for userspace to click 'ok, got the message, now continue anyway because
>>> I'm running older userspace for now,'  i.e. a sysctl perhaps.
>>> Sorry about the trouble.  Here is a patch to just warn for now, with
>>> the changelog showing what i intend to push next.
>>> sorry again,
>>> -serge
>>> From 2d7408541dd3a6e19a4265b028233789be6a40f4 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
>>> From: Serge Hallyn <serge@....(none)>
>>> Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 09:26:15 -0600
>>> Subject: [PATCH 1/1] cap_syslog: don't refuse cap_sys_admin for now
>>> At 2.6.39 or 2.6.40, let's add a sysctl which defaults to 0.  When
>>> 0, refuse if cap_sys_admin, if 1, then allow.  This will allow
>>> users to acknowledge (permanently, if they must, using /etc/sysctl.conf)
>>> that they've seen the syslog message about cap_sys_admin being
>>> deprecated for syslog.
>> Could we have it the other way around, at least for a while? Otherwise,
> Sure.
> So long as there is a definite path toward eventually having syslog
> with CAP_SYS_ADMIN be denied.

I can see what you would want to allow for a syslog daemon to have 
CAP_SYSLOG without needing to have CAP_SYS_ADMIN, but why do you see it as 
important to deny the ability if someone has CAP_SYS_ADMIN?

David Lang

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