[Aptitude-devel] Bug#462063: Bug#462063: aptitude: please add a "See homepage" action for packages

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo manuel.montezelo at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 22:12:48 UTC 2015

2015-10-11 13:35 Axel Beckert:
>Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo wrote:
>> > with the new field for a packages homepage, it would be nice to have a menu
>> > entry and hotkey to open a "sensible-browser" with the Homepage URL of the
>> > current package (with no action, if there is no Homepage specified).
>> I am marking this bug as +wontfix, mainly because it's been for 7+ years
>> without being implemented, so I don't see it happening any time soon.
>> Also, because implementing this kind of features with a package that
>> often runs as root and sometimes remotely is tricky because:
>>  - running the browser as root is even more problematic
>This is IMHO the main point, although that may be less of an issue if
>aptitude runs as user.
>This is very similar to aptitude's "B" keybinding which runs reportbug
>on the selected package. That feature exists, but it has been
>requested to be removed (!) for multiple reasons.
>If used as root, reportbug clearly warns that running it as root may
>be a security issue.

This is #738350 (and #463510 before that, but it was closed without
removing it), copying this bug report as well in the reply (perhaps we
should move the discussion to that bug report only).

I still didn't go ahead removing reportbug because --apart from not
being high priority-- there is the parallel issue of the call to
dpkg-reconfigure, which I don't know if it's better to keep, add to the
menu and fix some issues (#680334) or remove it altogether.  Before
seeing it mentioned in these bug reports a while ago, I was actually
unaware of them, and it's undocumented in man page and quick in-line
help, not sure about the full user's manual (so if keeping it, it would
also need documenting where missing).

For reportbug there's the possibility of implementing the drop of
privileges, but for dpkg-reconfigure we need root anyway, it's not a
security issue but there is some work to do to bring it to first-level
functionality.  I still think that it's probably better to remove both
reportbug and dpkg-reconfigure -- perhaps I am wrong, but I don't think
that they are very used/important features.

And specially the browser it would not just be solved with dropping
privileges, because there is also the issue of X/graphical
authentication, greatly increased bandwidth in remote connections, etc.

>> So I don't really think that it's a good idea to implement this, because
>> it's like opening a can of worms; and even if it was it means a
>> considerable amount of work, and I think that at the moment the scarce
>> time would be better spent in other more pressing problems.
>I think both those features (opening home page in a browser as well as
>reporting a bug on a package), both should be accessible if aptitude
>does not run as root, if at all.
>I'm not sure how many aptitude users use the Aptitude TUI as non-root
>at all. While it is probably a good idea security-wise, I use aptitude
>as user basically only with querying options (search, show, version,
>etc.) on the commandline.

>From previous communications I thought that you were in favour of
removing the reportbug and not implement this one; but your wording
makes me think that you are in favour of keeping them for non-root usage
-- or is it "I prefer to remove report bug and not implement the browser
launching, but if not going to be removed at least do it when aptitude
is not invoked as root"?

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo at gmail.com>

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