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Date:   Thu, 30 Nov 2023 15:31:01 -0800
From:   Casey Schaufler <>
To:     Roberto Sassu <>,
        Petr Tesarik <>,
        Paul Moore <>
Cc:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Roberto Sassu <>,
        Casey Schaufler <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v5 23/23] integrity: Switch from rbtree to LSM-managed
 blob for integrity_iint_cache

On 11/30/2023 1:34 PM, Roberto Sassu wrote:
> On 11/30/2023 5:15 PM, Casey Schaufler wrote:
>> On 11/30/2023 12:30 AM, Petr Tesarik wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> On 11/30/2023 1:41 AM, Casey Schaufler wrote:
>>>> ...
>>>> It would be nice if the solution directly addresses the problem.
>>>> EVM needs to be after the LSMs that use xattrs, not after all LSMs.
>>>> I suggested LSM_ORDER_REALLY_LAST in part to identify the notion as
>>>> unattractive.
>>> Excuse me to chime in, but do we really need the ordering in code?
>> tl;dr - Yes.
>>>   FWIW
>>> the linker guarantees that objects appear in the order they are seen
>>> during the link (unless --sort-section overrides that default, but this
>>> option is not used in the kernel). Since *.a archive files are used in
>>> kbuild, I have also verified that their use does not break the
>>> assumption; they are always created from scratch.
>>> In short, to enforce an ordering, you can simply list the corresponding
>>> object files in that order in the Makefile. Of course, add a big fat
>>> warning comment, so people understand the order is not arbitrary.
>> Not everyone builds custom kernels.
> Sorry, I didn't understand your comment.

Most people run a disto supplied kernel. If the LSM ordering were determined
only at compile time you could never run a kernel that omitted an LSM.

> Everyone builds the kernel, also Linux distros. What Petr was
> suggesting was that it does not matter how you build the kernel, the
> linker will place the LSMs in the order they appear in the Makefile.
> And for this particular case, we have:
> obj-$(CONFIG_IMA)                       += ima/
> obj-$(CONFIG_EVM)                       += evm/
> In the past, I also verified that swapping these two resulted in the
> swapped order of LSMs. Petr confirmed that it would always happen.

LSM execution order is not based on compilation order. It is specified
by CONFIG_LSM, and may be modified by the LSM_ORDER value. I don't
understand why the linker is even being brought into the discussion.

> Thanks
> Roberto

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