[cvsnt] Re: cvs ACL clarifications

Rogier Eijkelhof rogier at shortcut.nl
Sun Dec 19 00:16:11 GMT 2004

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At 00:29 19-12-04, Tony Hoyle wrote:
>>Would it be hard to add an [no]visible right or something, which would 
>>prevent uses from even just seeing a file or dir? So that if they 
>>checkout or update the repository, they won't even notice the existence 
>>of the files or dirs on which they have no view access.
>It wouldn't really work... a 'cvs add' would give the existence of the 
>file away (can't get around this really), as would a lot of other commands 
>potentially (pretending a file didn't exist would be a fairly big change 
>and I might not get all the cases for a while).

Well as for the 'cvs add', the outsiders I have in mind wouldn't have add 
access (nocreate) to the dir above it :)
But you're right, other commands might offer other ways to reveal the 
existence anyway.

>>This would be very handy when for example different outsiders need to 
>>known only about the part of the repository containing stuff they're 
>>related to (i.e. projects/clientname/*.*)
>If the permissions are set up they'll only know about the top level 
>directory anyway, which isn't much problem.
>If you really need that level of separation separate repositories is 
>probably a better solution.

Hmm yes, indeed it's not dramatic just knowing the dirs exist. And in the 
unlikely case it is, I could put any 'sensitive' dir names inside dirs with 
names that don't reveal anything useful.

Using separate repositories is kinda uncomfortable, as for example I have a 
library A which is required for projects B and C, so people with access to 
either B or C should also be able to read A. This can be solved by 
separating even further, putting every lib and project in its own 
repository, but then people have to update *lots* of repositories just to 
get all the latest stuff they need. With proper ACLs I assumed everybody 
can just update one big repository and they'd get what I want them to get.

>>Another question about ACLs: are they supposed to be set at the server or 
>>by clients? (just wondering cause I have some trouble getting ACL to work 
>>properly :)

Hmm ok, cause I recently got errors when trying to do it on the server... 
Doing 'cvs chacl' as a client seemed to work better (that is: no errors), 
but still didn't cause the access restrictions I intented.
I mailed about this a few days ago, I'll copy/paste it again below. Sorry 
for posting it here twice - I hate to be pushy, but somehow I just can't 
get this to work and I'm hoping you or anyone else might have some advice...

cheers! Rogier

// [copy of previous email]

>Hi everybody,
>I'm trying to limit the access to certain files for some users, but didn't 
>succeed so far.
>First I tried on the following on the server (in some dir within the 
>repository): cvs chacl -u john -a nowrite bla.h
>Hoping this would allow john to checkout/update "bla.h" but not commit it.
>(first got an error about CVSROOT not being set - I never did any cvs 
>things on the server yet, only created a repository there using the gui 
>and used TortoiseCvs on client machines...)
>Then it said:
>>cvs chacl: in directory .:
>>cvs [chacl aborted]: CVS directory without administration files 
>>present.  Cannot continue until this directory is deleted or renamed.
>When I tried "cvs lsacl", same thing. Is changing ACL stuff not supposed 
>to happen on the server?
>I also tried on a client PC (where I use the cvs account "rogier"), and it 
>seemed to work now, when doing "cvs lsacl" afterwards I get this:
>>Directory: .
>>Owner: peter
>>         read
>>         write
>>         create
>>         tag
>>File: bla.h
>>         write(deny)
>However... john can still commit changes to bla.h :(
>Since all cvs users in our repository map to the same single Windows guest 
>account on the server ("CvsDummyUser"), I though maybe the rights refer to 
>real windows users rather than the 'virtual' cvs users in the passwd 
>file.. so I did the same chacl command with CvsDummyUser instead of 
>"john", but still no difference.
>On the server, the cvs\fileattr.xml file looked ok though (see also lsacl 
>result above which seemed all right)
>Two questions:
>- What am I doing wrong? :)
>- Isn't it scary that clients can change the ACL rights, i.e. what 
>prevents a user from increasing his own rights to certain files?
>Thanks a lot,

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