:>     This would be trivial, you can use the swap allocation code (example:
:>     see the VN device, dev/vn/vn.c) to reserve, read, and write the swap.
:Thanks! :-)
:>     However, I don't see much of a point in doing this.  Not everyone
:>     configures swap, so you can't count on it, and a system dump will
:>     overwrite swap, so you would have to mess around with that as well
:>     and I can tell you it just isn't worth the effort.  Maintaining an entropy
:>     file in /var/db has no downside at all and is a whole lot easier
:>     to manage.
:There is the problem that for each setup, there are many admins who
:will have a non-writable filesapce for at least one of (/ /var /boot /etc).
:Sure, there may not be a $PRIMARYSWAP, but if there is, it is IMO the best
:place to put stashed entropy.

    /etc/rc already assumes that /var is writable.  I recommend that you make
    that assumption by default... have the default entropy file be something
    like "/var/db/entropy_seed" and allow the administrator to override it
    with an RC variable.  You could allow the administrator to select a
    different entropy file and you could have another RC variable which allows
    the administrator to set a command which, when executed, returns an
    arbitrary sequence of bytes on its stdout to initialize entropy with.

    defaults (in /etc/defaults/rc.conf)  (this is an example)

        entropy_program="/sbin/gather_entropy -time -hostname -rootstatfs"

    Example override:


    Another example override:

        # seed with read-only entropy file and then gather additional
        # entropy from other sources, like the time.
        entropy_program="/sbin/gather_entropy -network -time -keyboard_if_insufficient"


    This would give us maximum flexibility, yet provide suitable defaults
    for most sysinstall-based configurations.  For example, this gives you
    the ability to write an /sbin utility to do the more complex (or more
    secure) entropy gathering as part of the boot process and then allow
    the administrator to specify it with appropriate options to suit his
    tastes, rather then having to build it into the kernel.  

    Your /sbin program could deal with things like using swap instead of
    an entropy file and so forth.  I think if you did things this way it
    would remove virtually all the pain developers are feeling from the
    current state of affairs.

:>     lot happier.
::-) I'd like your suggestion a lot more if you supplied some more concrete
:hints. I like KISS, and current evolution is looking a little wierd. I'd
:enjoy seeing a true/beautiful/simple solution - patches welcome. :-)

    See above.


:Mark Murray
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