maandag 9 december 2013

Another idea

We have the sepolicy tool that has functionality that aims to make policy development easier. One great benefit is the single point of failure aspect it provides. By using the tool for policy development you reduce risk of typo's and syntax errors. If you have to type everything yourself manually then much can go wrong.

The tool also has it's drawback because you are bound to the functionality the tool provides but nothing stops you from manually editing the generated policy, and so that is pretty much a non-issue.

For some reason typo's and syntax errors are a pretty common thing for many policy developers, and so from that perspective it is probably a good idea to use the tool more often.

Anyhow, The reference policy provides a api "mechanism", and api's make life easier. The issue is that these api's are not checked until they are actually called or until a tool like sepolgen-ifgen is run on them. So if one writes api's manually then those api's might not work due to some stupid typos, but the typos are often not identified until some one calls the api's.

Back earlier we had this policy of not adding api's unless they are actually used. However the point was made that audit2allow cannot suggest an api to use if its not available and so we agreed that it is probably better to add various api's even if they are not used.

So adding api's that aren't used, and that might be written manually thus contain typos and syntax errors. That means that api's that have typo's in them might not work and we don't know about it because we do not use them.

He/She who fits the shoes wears them. I make typos in unused api's often. Just a few days ago i fixed two typos in admin interfaces that i made myself, and it annoys me. Because i am the type of person that likes to manually write his policy rather than depend on a tool (even though i know the tools purpose and i appreciate the issues it solves) I guess i am just stubborn sometimes.

To keep a long story short: It might be a good idea to create an api test script. Again not an all-inclusive test but just to determine whether it can be called or not. The sepolgen-ifgen tool might be able to help identifying issues as well.

Basically a script that just calls interfaces, templates, patterns etc to see if they build.

Api's are our calling cards. It's how callers see us. If we provide broken interfaces then that leaves a bad impression. That is why i think they deserve more attention because they are not there just for us but also for others.

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