[Dev] processes running as root

Stéphane Desneux stephane.desneux at open.eurogiciel.org
Thu Aug 14 23:45:11 GMT 2014

Hi valentina,

Yes we continue in that direction.

The process is what Casey described: after some investigations, if we find that 
we can adjust all the DAC & smack permissions to make a given daemon run as 
something else than root (and without high privileges), we'll do it.

But the most important is not to run as root or not: IMO, what is essential is 
to give the exact level of privileges needed by a given service, not less (of 
course, this wouldn't work) and not more (this would be a security gap). I mean 
that running some daemon as a special user who has a lot of privileges is not 
always the solution: having multiple 'roots' doesn't make things simpler.

The good question is perhaps: why this *specific* daemon needs so much 
privileges ? Is it essential for the system ? Can't we make it run with less 
privileges ? Could we split the daemon in two parts ? etc.

Also remember that Tizen, as any other Linux distro, relies on upstream 
projects. We can tweak things, but there are always design limits for that. So, 
at one point, if another "more secure" (open or private) implementation for a 
given service must take place, it's certainly possible: you'd just have to 
compile the service with Tizen toolchain and write the corresponding core API. 
The Tizen architecture, with its service layer, was probably designed with that 
flexibility in mind...

Best regards,
Stéphane Desneux
Intel OTC - Vannes/FR

Valentina Giusti wrote:
> On 08/12/2014 03:08 PM, Stéphane Desneux wrote:
>> Hi Valentina,
> Hi Stephane,
>> As Casey and Carsten said: things are not black and white... but simply
>> gray :) We *try* to reduce the daemons running as root as much as
>> possible. But it's not an absolute rule.
>> Sometimes, it's possible to migrate a daemon from root to <some system
>> user> without much difficulties. A good example is weston in
>> Tizen:Common: it runs as a 'display' user, who has the proper rights on
>> the DRM and input devices.
>> For some other daemons, it can become more tricky.
>> If I take a quick look on a recent Tizen:Common snapshot, I can see that
>> there are some daemons running as root, as you noticed:
>> root 159 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/sbin/ofonod -n
>> root 161 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/alarm-server
>> root 168 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/sbin/connmand -n
>> root 172 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/security-server
>> root 173 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/media-server
>> root 175 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00
>> /usr/bin/notification-service
>> root 239 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd -E
>> root 344 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/sbin/wpa_supplicant -u
>> root 1037 173 0 03:23 ? 00:00:00 media-thumbnail-server
>> In this list, I see 3 categories:
>> - some daemons can very probably run as system users (media-server,
>> media-thumbnail-server, ofonod, alarm-server), if we're able to define
>> the appropriate rights
>> - for network and connectivity daemons (connmand, wpa_supplicant,
>> bluetoothd), it may be more tricky to migrate to non-root users, but
>> this needs some investigation
>> - some services need to run as root (security-server AFAIK)
>> As Casey pointed, migrating from root to system users for some daemons
>> is an ongoing effort.
> thanks for your detailed answer. I was actually wondering how you proceeded with
> the identification of the processes that can be run as system processes and if
> you planned to continue in that direction for the services that still run as root.
> My guess is that this would help also with having a multi-user/multi-session
> system.
> Best Regards,
> - Valentina
>> Best regards,
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