Andrew Haley wrote:
> I'm not against NSS - really I'm not. But there are other
> to be taken into account.
> 1) Does NSS have any kind of support for hardware crypto offload? If so,
> I haven't found any references to it (but maybe my google-foo is weak
Interesting question; not sure.
I think it is an important one to answer, and sooner rather than later.
This is particularly important to the ARM community since a lot of
(most?) ARMs seem to have a crypto co-processor of some description
(Freescales, Kirkwood and Tegra definitely seem to have this, I haven't
checked others, but since these are the three classes of devices I own,
that's 3 out of 3 - I don't think it's luck/coincidence).
This is particularly important for server applications. ARM is getting
some traction in the server market. ZT make a really nice (if expensive)
multi-ARM server. I have seriously discussed using ShevaPlugs/GuruPlugs
specifically for large scale-out low-power SSL offload with clients.
Crypto offload support is already important, and it's importance is only
going to go up.
> 2) More abstraction (a OpenSSL->NSS shim library), means more
> more context switching and less performance. Is that really the way
> forward? I mean _really_?
For bulk crypto operations an extra call via a shim probably doesn't
matter. For some signature operations it might.
It seems like a clean solution from the point of view of application
The other thing that needs to be considered is added complexity and
security. I would imagine that since there is an abstraction layer, it
introduces additional scope for exploits (buffer overruns, stack
smashing, etc.) Is this shim library going to also be FIPS certified? If
not then the improved security aspect of NSS vs. OpenSSL comes a lot
closer to pure marketing rhetoric (maybe that's where it's at at the
moment anyway, I don't claim to be an expert on the subject).
> 3) Volume of supported commonly used software - if NSS has a
> advantage in terms of support base, then so be it, let's all put our
> weight behind it. But my perception is that this is not the case.
> Everything I touch upon on a daily basis seems to be linked against
> OpenSSL rather than NSS.
Well, that's not true for everyone, and certainly not for users of
I thought it was mentioned on this thread recently that GPG brings it's
own implementation anyway. Did I misunderstand?
But the real question is whether one group of Fedora developers is
determinedly going to push NSS and the other OpenSSL. That is not a
route to happiness.
It's not, but losing crypto offload and/or a performance drop-off and
bloat due to shimming isn't a happy solution, either. If we can address
those (the latter by sending patches to build against NSS upstream so
shimming isn't required), then it'd be a great idea.
But purely in terms of standardizing on a single crypto library - has
anyone actually performed an exhaustive analysis on how much would need
to be changed to go either way? The wiki page that has been referenced a
few times seems distinctly non-exhaustive. Maybe my perception is
non-representative here, but as I said, all the things I get my hands
dirty on a regular basis are linked against OpenSSL rather than NSS. The
pragmatist in me says that maybe that makes OpenSSL a better target to
standardize on, but I would like to see an exhaustive analysis /
empirical evidence showing otherwise.