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Re: svn commit: r1794632 - /subversion/trunk/notes/sha1-advisory.txt

From: Johan Corveleyn <jcorvel_at_gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2017 01:34:18 +0200

On Wed, May 10, 2017 at 1:44 PM, Bert Huijben <bert_at_qqmail.nl> wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Stefan Sperling [mailto:stsp_at_apache.org]
>> Sent: woensdag 10 mei 2017 13:34
>> To: Daniel Shahaf <d.s_at_daniel.shahaf.name>
>> Cc: dev_at_subversion.apache.org; commits_at_subversion.apache.org
>> Subject: Re: svn commit: r1794632 - /subversion/trunk/notes/sha1-
>> advisory.txt
>>
>> On Wed, May 10, 2017 at 09:11:50AM +0000, Daniel Shahaf wrote:
>> > > Summary:
>> > > ========
>> > >
>> > > Subversion repositories can be corrupted by committing two files
>> > > which have different content, yet produce the same SHA1 checksum.
>> >
>> > I don't think we should call this "corruption": the on-disk data
>> > structures are intact, both syntactically and semantically.

Except the committed collision files, I guess. IIUC only one of both
contents is stored, right? But okay, apart from those sha1-colliding
contents themselves, the rest is in principle intact (but rendered
partially inaccessible).

>> > The problem
>> > is in the libraries' assumption that sha1 has no collisions.
>> >
>> > I'm afraid I don't have a good suggestion; perhaps "Distinct files that
>> > have equal sha1 checksums cannot be checked out"?
>>
>> I think we should call it corruption simply because it looks like
>> that to our users when it happens (see webkit).
>>
>> This is a user-facing text. We want users to take action and upgrade so
>> they won't run into the problem. The purpose of this text is to raise
>> awareness. It is not to communicate technical details of the problem,
>> which can be obtained by other means (reading code, mailing lists, etc.)
>>
>> I expect "corruption" will turn on people's alarm bells more than your
>> suggested wording which is very exact but also sounds less dramatic.
>
> Those alarm bells are the reason why I wouldn't call it corruption, as that
> part will probably be highlighted in the media, while there is nothing
> corrupt on disk.

Hm, I think Bert has a point. We should find the middle ground between
making it dramatic enough (to attract attention and strong motivation
to upgrade), but not causing panic and making this the only quote that
will appear in the media.

Maybe something like this?

"Subversion repositories can be broken, becoming partly inaccessible,
by committing two files which have different content, yet produce the
same SHA1 checksum. There is no data loss, but parts of the repository
can no longer be checked out or committed into."

Separately: maybe we should include a reference to the pre-commit hook
script, for completeness of the possible ways to protect oneself. I
think it will be clear that upgrading to 1.9.6 will be the better fix,
but that the pre-commit hook might buy you some time if you can't
upgrade immediately.

-- 
Johan
Received on 2017-05-11 01:34:49 CEST

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