SELinux removed from desktop cd spin?

Andrew Farris lordmorgul at
Wed Jan 16 22:29:37 UTC 2008

Valent Turkovic wrote:
> On Jan 16, 2008 9:25 PM, Daniel P. Berrange <berrange at> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jan 16, 2008 at 09:19:38PM +0100, Valent Turkovic wrote:
>>> On Jan 16, 2008 9:03 PM, Daniel P. Berrange <berrange at> wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Jan 16, 2008 at 08:57:56PM +0100, Valent Turkovic wrote:
>>>>> Hi,
>>>>> I believe that SELinux is a great linux server security hardening tool
>>>>> but that has little use in desktop linux usage and it confuses
>>>>> ordinary desktop users.
>>>> It is of great use in a desktop spin. On my 'desktop' install for my
>>>> laptop I have many many system daemons running under a confined domain
>>> You, of course, will always have the ability to choose to install it
>>> and use it.
>>>>> If it hasn't been discussed before I would like to propose that on
>>>>> desktop cd spin SELinux is not installed by default, of course after
>>>>> discussion and approval from you (fedora devels).
>>>> No. SELinux provides very real & important protection for desktop users.
>>> Can you give me examples of this protection over fedora 9 without
>>> SELInux or with SELinux in permissive mode?
>> Yes. SELinux mitigated against the recent HPLIP security flaw which
>> would have allowed arbitrary code execution as root.
>> There have been other similar scenarios where security flaws have been
>> prevented, or their damage mitigated by presence of SELinux
>> Dan.
> Dan you are taking this the wrong way. Of course SElinux is great, of
> course it prevents from 0day exploits, no body is challenging that.
> But what was the real threat to average desktop users? Has anybody
> made use of this 0day exploit threat? is there a linux virus in the
> wild that spread like wildfire that took down all desktops that didn't
> use SELinux?
> It is a question of cost and benefit. I argue that SELinux makes much
> more trouble that it saves people from real danger in desktop
> enviroment. Ofcourse that you need it in corporate enviroment and if
> you use Fedora as corporate desktop you should enable it - but don't
> make it default for them - especially if most of the people using it
> won't understand cryptic messages that it gives :(
> If fedora is used as testing ground for redhat corporate desktop then
> I understand the decision to make it on by default but if you really
> want average home desktop users to have a pleasant linux experience I
> really see no point in SELinux.
> Valent.

I would argue that for the continued development, improvement, and eventual 
adoption of selinux across the linux community at large, it must be tested in 
ever widening circles... and its crucially important for distributions to take 
steps in that direction.  Fedora users should expect to either 1) know how to 
turn it off, 2) learn how to use it.  Google provides great search results on 
both of those options; if thats your only place to start I would expect anyone 
who actually tried to be able to disable it.

It should not be up to the distribution which is atm doing the most to develop 
selinux to turn it off for people who choose the distro targetted at cutting 
edge linux technologies.

Sooner or later there WILL be increasing threats to linux and its quite possible 
to have virii spread in the wild... if good protections against it are not 
developed and supported now then when?  After they show up?

Andrew Farris <lordmorgul at> <ajfarris at>
  gpg 0xC99B1DF3 fingerprint CDEC 6FAD BA27 40DF 707E A2E0 F0F6 E622 C99B 1DF3
No one now has, and no one will ever again get, the big picture. - Daniel Geer
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