[cvsnt] Securing pserver on CVSNT: tunneling with ssh

Tony Hoyle tony.hoyle at march-hare.com
Fri Aug 11 14:19:49 BST 2006

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David Somers wrote:
> I may be convinced that being able to proxy to a different destination port
> might be useful... but are there practical reasons to having a cvsnt server
> bind to a port other than its official IANA registered one?

Probably not (maybe the corner case of running two servers on the same 
machine, but that's rare).  People do it though...

> I'm less convinced that being able to support other protocols is necessary.
> If you want to use a secure connection and your brain dead client app only
> supports pserver or its too much grief to get it to do otherwise, then
> cvssproxy is a lightweight solution that works. It may be tempting to have
> the proxy switch from pserver to sspi, but I think there are practical and
> security implications against it. Comments for and against welcome.

Well the proxy isn't only for security purposes... running sspi 
(possibly kerberos encrypted) across a LAN is easier if there's a way to 
get all the clients to support it.  pserver is a bad idea in almost all 

extnt does this, but people aren't used to using ext protocols so they 
have trouble configuring it.  It's easier to say 'use 
:pserver:. at localhost:/cvs.server.org/root' rather than talking them 
through configuring their client to talk :ext: in the right way (which 
varies from application to application).  Hence the ides of the proxy...

> When a proxy doesn't follow the KISS method its more inclined to break :-)

OTOH when cvsapi is on the system the proxy is actually simpler if it's 
using it, since it's about 3 calls to load a protocol and use it, rather 
than going through all the SSL initialisation yourself, parsing the 
protocol, etc.

The opposite is true if it isn't on the system of course.. hence there's 
plenty of space for both ideas.

I'll probably write my own anyway, since it's a good enough idea & 
should be nice and quick.  I would say update the wiki with a link but 
I'm considering replacing that over the weekend (what with I haven't 
decided - phpnuke looks like a nice idea if I can find a theme that 
doesn't suck.. puts the release (and other) announcements on the front 
page where they should be)


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