[Users] [Bug 2828] Use MD5 digest for socket name

Holger Berndt berndth at gmx.de
Sat Dec 1 23:13:23 CET 2012

On Sa, 01.12.2012 13:21, Colin Leroy wrote:

>> But anyways, it's a matter of preference what's more valuable: Safety
>> against different uids trying to mess with the same config dir at the
>> same time, or DoS prevention. Personally, I lean towards the second.
>Different UIDs should not be messing with the same config dir anyway.

Agreed. I don't see the "different uids at the same time" usecase as an
interesting one either, as I wrote above.

>The UID in the socket name is there just to allow different users run
>different instances of Claws Mail at the same time, not to prevent DoS
>or anything.

Of course it's not there to prevent DoS. But - and this is the problem
Mones spotted - the way it's implemented, it makes Claws Mail vulnerable
for local DoS attacks. It's trivialy easy to block Claws Mail for all
users on a shared machine (just create a bunch of /tmp/claws-mail-1234
files). And, if the "different uids" usecase is not interesting
anyways, on which we seem to agree, it's making Claws Mail vulnerable
for no benefit whatsoever.

This is bad design, and it doesn't have anything to do with
alternate-config-dir. It just poped up by coincidence during that topic.

The solution would be to ...

>Also, I feel we're getting a little bit carried away there with
>XDG_RUNTIME_DIR and everything. Supporting XDG would be great, but we
>don't, right now. 

... create your socket in a user-specific place instead of public /tmp.
Now, you can either make up a directory name, or use a specified and
configured one that's already there. By coincidence, there indeed is
already a spec for exactly this usecase, it's followed on many modern
machines, and it happens to be called XDG_RUNTIME_DIR. There's nothing
magic, really.

And you don't need to follow XDG either. On the contrary, if that
variable is set, it help you in so far as it guarantees that it's gonna
work (you're guaranteed to be able to create unix domain sockets there,
unlike in random directories that you make up, which could themselves
be on FAT or whatever).

>Maybe we can start caring about XDG_RUNTIME_DIR when we'll have
>migrated our config dir to XDG_CONDIR_DIR and imap caches to

General XDG conformity is a completely unrelated topic.

>In the meantime I couldn't care less if the socket name is rendered
>unique using UID, config-dir-name hash, md5sum of the user's full name
>appended to the computer domain name or whatever.

Now you're talking about a feature (being able to put config dir on FAT
or similarly limited filesystems). That's, as I said above, not really
related to above notes. It could be done either way (putting it
into /tmp, or putting it into /run/user/foo would work equally well

>> don't remove uid from socket name, just add the MD5, otherwise two
>>different users could clash using the same dir.

Weird quoting. I didn't write that.

>That's misguided, we sure as hell don't want two users running two
>instances of Claws Mail, writing UIDL files, preferences and IMAP cache
>files in the same configuration directory.
>Having the unicity on config dirs only is actually better than on UID +
>config dir. Of course the hash has to be on the absolute path.
>Or am I missing something there?

No, you're not. That's exactly what I said ("But that's actually a

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