TIP #220: Escalate Privileges in VFS Close Callback


TIP:220
Title:Escalate Privileges in VFS Close Callback
Version:$Revision: 1.18 $
Authors: Colin McCormack <colin at sharedtech dot dyndns dot org>
Andreas Kupries <akupries at shaw dot ca>
Vince Darley <vincentdarley at users dot sourceforge dot net>
State:Draft
Type:Project
Tcl-Version:8.7
Vote:Pending
Created:Sunday, 12 September 2004

Abstract

This tip allows the creator and opener of a channel to cast away privileges and have them restored on close, to permit last-minute processing. It is sufficient to resolve a tclvfs bug, minimal, and safe.

Abstract

This tip allows the creator and opener of a channel to cast away privileges and have them restored on close, to permit last-minute processing. It is sufficient to resolve a tclvfs bug, minimal, and safe.

Rationale

Tclvfs has a bug [1004273] Can't read from channel in close callback [1] that is due in part to the core channel handler behaviour.

The problem is that the user has requested a read-only or write-only channel, but the tclvfs close process absolutely requires fuller access to the channel.

Use case one: A user's write-only channel has to be read by close in order to be processed.

The second relevant use case: A user's read-only channel has to be written, i.e. loaded with data, before it is passed to the user.

The first use case can be modelled by the owner of a channel (in this case, the tclvfs code) by opening it with minimal permissions, handing the channel to a user, then subsequently re-aquiring full possible channel permissions at the point where the channel needs to be closed - that is, immediately before the tclvfs close callback is invoked.

The second use case can be modelled by the owner of a channel (in this case, the tclvfs code) by opening it with maximal permissions, loading the data, and handing the channel to a user after removing the unwanted permissions from the channel.

Safety

Proposed Changes

Immediately prior to invoking the VFS close callback on a channel, Tcl core should set channel's permissions to the maximum possible.

Export a new function as part of the public API which allows a user to remove privileges from channel, but not to add them.

Details

The signature of the new function is

 int Tcl_RemoveChannelMode (Tcl_Interp* interp, Tcl_Channel chan, int mode);

 /* Codes for 'mode', already defined, _not_ new */

 #define TCL_READABLE	(1<<1)
 #define TCL_WRITABLE	(1<<2)

The argument mode determines which privilege to release, and is set to one of the two specified codes. It is not a bitset. It is not allowed to release all privileges of the channel, as this would make the channel completely inacessible. Trying to do so will therefore cause the generation of an error, without changing the channel. The function will return a regular Tcl result code, either TCL_OK, or TCL_ERROR. If the interp argument is set an error message will be left in the interp in the error case. If the interp argument is NULL it will be ignored.

History

This TIP was originally written to allow C code to modify permissions, but this makes the permissions system mean nothing, as a channel's permissions could then be freely modified in an ad hoc manner. The TIP now specifies a weaker modification that is still powerful enough to implemenent the desired channel semantics.

Reference Implementation

A reference implementation will be provided at SourceForge [2].

Comments

It may be preferable for the new function to be in tclInt.h and therefore in the non-public interfaces (tclvfs already makes use of tclInt.h anyway): TclRemoveChannelMode.

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Copyright

This document has been placed in the public domain.


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