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RE: Running CVS as Non-Root User

From: Arthur Barrett
Subject: RE: Running CVS as Non-Root User
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 07:51:04 +1100


What version of CVS?  What operating system?  You've asked what
authentication schemes are possible as non-root, but let me ask you: do
you require a particular authentication (PAM, SystemAuth etc) or
protocol (ssh, pserver etc)?

I know with CVSNT (yes it runs on linux/unix) that you can use a chroot
jail if you are worried about the effects of running the process as
root.  The server process quickly drops privileges to the rights of the
client user (or runas user, or alias user) once the authentication is
complete.  Since the server drops privileges as soon as authentication
is complete then the ownership of the RCS files is unrelated to the
server process running as root.

If you are happy to run CVS/CVSNT on unix/linux and require SSH access
only then the server doesn't ever run as root (since sshd is running as

This highlights my primary concern about your question - you are perhaps
implying that it is BAD to run cvs server as root - but you are probably
more than happy to run sshd as root - they are both free/open source
software, they are both running on the same server - I think you should
trust CVS/CVSNT to do its job and concentrate on security and access
control, including the use of a chroot jail, ownership and access
control of the RCS repository, ownership and access control within
branches (cvs chacl etc).  

I run a one day course on CM Design and CVSNT Administration for
customers ;)


Arthur Barrett
Product Manager
CVS Suite and CVSNT
March Hare Software

> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
> address@hidden 
> [mailto:address@hidden
> org] On Behalf Of address@hidden
> Sent: Friday, 21 January 2011 7:26 AM
> To: address@hidden
> Subject: Running CVS as Non-Root User
> Is there any definitive documentation on running CVS as a 
> non-root user?
> Among the questions the answers to which concern us are the following:
> *  Who owns the repo disk files when running as a non-root user;
> *  When hooks are invoked by the server when running as a 
> non-root user, as which user are they invoked?
> *  What authentication methods are available to CVS running 
> as a non-root user?
> Thanks for any feedback you can provide in the way of links or info.
> Eric
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