[tor-dev] Tor in a safer language: Network team update from Amsterdam
contact.ng0 at cryptolab.net
Mon Apr 3 12:19:30 UTC 2017
zaki at manian.org transcribed 12K bytes:
> Rust seems like the best available choice for Tor in a safer language.
> Rust has several issues with securely obtaining a Rust toolchain that the
> Tor community should be attentive to.
Interesting development, but logical. Leaving the obvious issues
(bootstrap, etc) aside:
Will you stick to stable features? From a package maintainers position
it is generally unacceptable (and hard) to follow (and maintain)
nightly/unstable releases of a programming language. Rust stable has
proven features which are expected to stick around for a reliable long
time (at least that is my understanding).
> Rust is a self hosted compiler. Building Rust requires obtaining binaries
> for a recent Rust compiler. The Rust toolchain is vulnerable to a "trusting
> trust" attack. Manish made a prototype and discussed future mitigations.
> The Rust toolchain is built by an automated continuous integration system
> and distributed without human verification or intervention. Rust's build
> artifacts distributed by the RustUp tool are only authenticated by TLS
> certificates. RustUp Github issue 241 discusses a mitigation to address
> some of these concerns but development seems to be stalled.
>  https://github.com/rust-lang-nursery/rustup.rs/issues/241
> On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 2:23 PM Sebastian Hahn <sebastian at torproject.org>
> > Hi there tor-dev,
> > as an update to those who didn't have the chance to meet with us in
> > Amsterdam or those who haven't followed the efforts to rely on C less,
> > here's what happened at the "let's not fight about Go versus Rust, but
> > talk about how to migrate Tor to a safer language" session and what
> > happened after.
> > Notes from session:
> > We didn't fight about Rust or Go or modern C++. Instead, we focused on
> > identifying goals for migrating Tor to a memory-safe language, and how
> > to get there. With that frame of reference, Rust emerged as a extremely
> > strong candidate for the incremental improvement style that we
> > considered necessary. We were strongly advised to not use cgo, by people
> > who have used it extensively.
> > As there are clearly a lot of unknowns with this endeavor, and a lot
> > that we will learn/come up against along the way, we feel that Rust is a
> > compelling option to start with, with the caveat that we will first
> > experiment, learn from the experience, and then build on what we learn.
> > You can also check out the session notes on the wiki (submitted, but not
> > posted yet).
> > The real fun part started after the session. We got together to actually
> > make a plan for an experiment and to give Rust a serious chance. We
> > quickly got a few trivial things working like statically linking Rust
> > into Tor, integrating with the build system to call out to cargo for the
> > Rust build, and using Tor's allocator from Rust.
> > We're planning to write up a blog post summarizing our experiences so
> > far while hopefully poking the Rust developers to prioritize the missing
> > features so we can stop using nightly Rust soon (~months, instead of
> > years).
> > We want to have a patch merged into tor soon so you can all play with
> > your dev setup to help identify any challenges. We want to stress that
> > this is an optional experiment for now, we would love feedback but
> > nobody is paid to work on this and nobody is expected to spend more
> > time than they have sitting around.
> > We have committed to reviewing any patch that includes any Rust code to
> > provide feedback, get experience to develop a style, and actually make
> > use of this experiment. This means we're not ready to take on big
> > patches that add lots of tricky stuff quite now, we want to take it slow
> > and learn from this.
> > We would like to do a session at the next dev meeting to give updates on
> > this effort, but in the meantime, if team members would like to start
> > learning Rust and helping us identify/implement small and well-isolated
> > areas to begin migration, or new pieces of functionality that we can
> > build immediately in Rust, that would be really great.
> > So, for a TLDR:
> > What has already been done:
> > - Rust in Tor build
> > - Putting together environment setup instructions and a (very small)
> > initial draft for coding standards
> > - Initial work to identify good candidates for migration (not tightly
> > interdependent)
> > What we think are next steps:
> > - Define conventions for the API boundary between Rust and C
> > - Add a non-trivial Rust API and deploy with a flag to optionally use
> > (to test support with a safe fallback)
> > - Learn from similar projects
> > - Add automated tooling for Rust, such as linting and testing
> > Cheers
> > Alex, Chelsea, Sebastian
> > : Will be visible here
> > https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/meetings/2017Amsterdam/Notes
> > _______________________________________________
> > tor-dev mailing list
> > tor-dev at lists.torproject.org
> > https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-dev
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