[pkg-lxc-devel] Bug#847491: Bug#847491: lxc: please put the lxc-unshare and lxc-usernsexec tools into their own binary package

Serge E. Hallyn serge at hallyn.com
Fri Dec 9 02:39:29 UTC 2016

Quoting Johannes Schauer (josch at debian.org):
> Package: lxc
> Version: 1:2.0.5-1
> Severity: wishlist
> Tags: patch
> Hi,
> with this bug I want to propose a patch against the lxc source package
> which splits out the lxc-unshare and lxc-usernsexec utilities into their
> own binary package. It follows the rationale.
> The lxc package currently contains the two tools lxc-unshare and
> lxc-usernsexec. The only thing that these tools have in common with the
> other lxc tools is that they are prefixed with "lxc-". They are not
> manipulating any lxc containers. Still, these two binaries provide some
> very powerful facilities which are so far unique in Debian: they allow
> to easily enter a new user namespace and unshare several other
> namespaces from within it. There exists the "unshare" utility from the
> util-linux binary package, but that one doesn't offer all the
> functionality that the lxc-unshare and lxc-usernsexec tools offer. One
> important limitation of the unshare tool is, that it doesn't yet allow
> mounting /proc which is a crucial drawback. So even though the
> lxc-unshare tool is described as "mainly provided for testing purposes"
> in its man page, it is so far the only tool in Debian which allows
> easily setting up fully-fledged (including /proc) unprivileged chroots
> from within shell scripts.
> One problem right now is, that to acquire the lxc-unshare and
> lxc-usernsexec utilities, one has to install the full lxc package. Due
> to its dependencies, that can mean up to 95.5 MB of additional disk
> space being required for 74 new packages. Even when installing with
> --no-install-recommends, still 33.2 MB of additional disk space will be
> used for 22 new packages. It would make things much more light-weight if
> the two tools would live in their own binary package because that would
> limit the amount of additionally required disk space to 1172 kB for just
> 5 more packages on top of a minimal installation.
> The attached patch adds the lxc-userns-tools binary package. The name is
> obviously free to be changed to something else. I also let the lxc
> package depend on the lxc-userns-tools package. That way, existing users
> of the lxc package will not see a difference in provided functionality.
> The main overhead and complication that this patch adds are much longer
> *.install files but since you are also using "dh_install --fail-missing"
> there is no way that the list in lxc.install could become outdated in
> the future without you noticing via a build failure.
> What do you think?

Note that lxc-unshare is basically obsoleted by 'unshare' in util-linux.
lxc-usernsexec is, last I checked, still worthwhile, though patching
unshare to have similar uidmap capabilities might be the best way
forward.  (In particular, user-specifiable uid maps, and ability to use
the first mapping found in /etc/subuid)


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