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Date:   Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:45:32 -0700
From:   Taras Kondratiuk <>
To:     Paul Moore <>,
        Stephen Smalley <>
Cc:     Eric Paris <>,,,
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH] selinux: add a fallback to defcontext for native labeling

Quoting Paul Moore (2018-09-24 20:46:57)
> On Fri, Sep 21, 2018 at 10:39 AM Stephen Smalley <> wrote:
> > On 09/20/2018 06:59 PM, Taras Kondratiuk wrote:
> > > Quoting Stephen Smalley (2018-09-20 07:49:12)
> > >> On 09/19/2018 10:41 PM, Taras Kondratiuk wrote:
> > >>> Quoting Stephen Smalley (2018-09-19 12:00:33)
> > >>>> On 09/19/2018 12:52 PM, Taras Kondratiuk wrote:
> ...
> > > IMO it would be more consistent if defcontext cover all "unlabeled"
> > > groups. It seems unlikely to me that somebody who currently uses
> > > defcontext can somehow rely on mapping invalid labels to unlabeled
> > > instead of default context.
> >
> > Yes, and that seems more consistent with the current documentation in
> > the mount man page for defcontext=.
> >
> > I'd be inclined to change selinux_inode_notifysecctx() to call
> > security_context_to_sid_default() directly instead of using
> > selinux_inode_setsecurity() and change security_context_to_sid_core()
> > and sidtab_search_core() as suggested above to save and use the def_sid
> > instead of SECINITSID_UNLABELED always (initializing the context def_sid
> > to SECINITSID_UNLABELED as the default).  selinux_inode_setsecurity() we
> > should leave unchanged, or if we change it at all, it should be more
> > like the handling in selinux_inode_setxattr().  The notifysecctx hook is
> > invoked by the filesystem to notify the security module of the file's
> > existing security context, so in that case we always want the _default
> > behavior, whereas the setsecurity hook is invoked by the vfs or the
> > filesystem to set the security context of a file to a new value, so in
> > that case we would only use the _force interface if the caller had
> >
> > Paul, what say you?  NB This would be a user-visible behavior change for
> > mounts specifying defcontext= on xattr filesystems; files with invalid
> > contexts will then show up with the defcontext value instead of the
> > unlabeled context.  If that's too risky, then we'd need a flag or
> > something to security_context_to_sid_default() to distinguish the
> > behaviors and only set it when called from selinux_inode_notifysecctx().
> Visible changes like this are always worrisome, even though I think it
> is safe to assume that the defcontext option is not widely used.  I'd
> feel much better if this change was opt-in.
> Which brings about it's own problems.  We have the policy capability
> functionality, but that is likely a poor fit for this as the policy
> capabilities are usually controlled by the Linux distribution while
> the mount options are set by the system's administrator when the
> filesystem is mounted.  We could add a toggle somewhere in selinuxfs,
> but I really dislike that idea, and would prefer to find a different
> solution if possible.  I'm not sure how much flak we would get for
> introducing a new mount option, but perhaps that is the best way to
> handle this: defcontext would continue to behave as it does now, but
> new option X would behave as mentioned in this thread.
> Thoughts?

The new option X will also mean "default context", so it will be pretty
hard to come up with a different but a sensible name. I'm afraid that
having two options with hardly distinguishable semantics will be very

What about a kernel config option that modifies the behavior of

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