F21 System Wide Change: Workstation: Disable firewall

Josh Boyer jwboyer at fedoraproject.org
Wed Apr 16 12:28:36 UTC 2014

On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 7:11 AM, Ian Malone <ibmalone at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 16 April 2014 00:11, William Brown <william at firstyear.id.au> wrote:
>> On Tue, 2014-04-15 at 13:49 -0700, Matthias Clasen wrote:
>>> I don't think we want a 'firewall' UI anyway; the firewall is not
>>> something most users can or should understand and make decisions of.
>> Never take decisions away from users.
>> The OSX style firewall works well when enabled. It blocks all by
>> default, then when an application wants a listening port, the user is
>> prompted to allow or deny it. I think this is a good model.
> "Users can't understand a firewall, let's just turn it off" (I realise
> that's not your position, it's the one that seems to be coming up in
> this thread.)
> Anyone else astounded this discussion is actually taking place?

I'm astounded that everyone on all sides is showing a complete
inability to think outside their own box in this thread.  Beyond that,
nothing else surprises me.

For a quick summary:

1) With a firewall enabled, network services don't work without manual

2) With firewalld active, any privileged application can open a port
in the firewall (and most will be privileged because they will be
packaged that way.)

3) With no firewall enabled and no network services started, there is
no security issue because there are no open ports.

4) With no firewall but active network services, you have open ports
just as you would in the firewalld or manual intervention firewall

5) Which ports can safely be opened is completely irrelevant to the
presence of a firewall or not.  It is entirely dependent upon the
trust of the network the machine is connected to.  On unsafe networks,
you have one of two options: a) turn off those network services, b)
use a firewall to block the ports those network services need (which
is a strange form of a).

If those facts hold true, and I think they do, then I am not surprised
at all that there's no consensus here.  It isn't as clear cut as
everyone seems to want it to be.

The zones approach seems fairly reasonable to me.  That in and of
itself doesn't require a firewall though.  "Zones" could be
implemented by simply turning off the network services completely,
which would then close the open ports.  However, using a firewall to
implement zones does allow for protection against unknown/unwanted
network services running.

A reduced set of zones firewall rules and proper integration in
whatever implementation is chosen would seem to be the middle ground
here.  I like the middle ground.  Maybe we could shoot for that?
Otherwise, I won't be astounded at all when FESCo rejects the current
Change and some users still turn off the firewall as one of the first
things they do because things don't work.


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