Hi Jan, thanks for the comments.
On 12/05/2016 04:25 AM, Jan Cholasta wrote:
On 3.11.2016 00:12, Ben Lipton wrote:
Soon I'm going to have to reduce the amount of time I spend on new
development work for the CSR autogeneration project, and I want to leave
the project in as organized a state as possible. So, I'm taking
inventory of the work I've done in order to make sure that what's ready
for review can get reviewed and the ideas that have been discussed get
prototyped or at least recorded so they won't be forgotten.
Thanks, I have some questions and comments, see below.
Code that's ready for review (I will continue to put in as much time as
needed to help get these ready for submission):
- Current PR: https://github.com/freeipa/freeipa/pull/10
How hard would it be to update the PR to use the "new" interface from
the design thread? By this I mean that currently there is a command
(cert_get_requestdata), which creates a CSR from profile id +
principal + helper, but in the design we discussed a command which
creates a CertificationRequestInfo from profile id + principal +
Internally it could use the OpenSSL helper, no need to implement the
full "new" design. With your build_requestinfo.c code below it looks
like it should be pretty straightforward.
This is probably doable with the cffi, but I'm concerned about
usability. A user can run the current command to get a (reusable)
script, and run the script to get a CSR. It works with keys in both PEM
files and NSS databases already. If we change to outputting a
CertificationRequestInfo, in order to make this usable on the command
line, we'll need:
- An additional tool to sign a CSR given a CertificationRequestInfo (for
both types of key storage).
- A way to extract a SubjectPublicKeyInfo structure from a key within
the ipa command (like  but we need it for both types of key storage)
Since as far as I know there's no standard encoding for files containing
only a CertificationRequestInfo or a SubjectPublicKeyInfo, we'll be
writing and distributing these ourselves. I think that's where most of
the extra work will come in.
Would it be ok to stick with the current design in this PR? I'd feel
much better if we could get the basic functionality into the repo and
then iterate on it rather than changing the plan at this point. I can
create a separate PR to change cert_get_requestdata to this new
interface and at the same time add the necessary adapters (bullet points
above) to make it user-friendly.
I would probably just implement the adapters within the
cert_build/cert_request client code unless you think having standalone
tools is valuable. I suppose certmonger is going to need these features
too, but I don't know how well sharing code between them is going to work.
- Allow some fields to be specified by the user at creation time:
Good idea :-)
- Automation for the full process from getting CSR data to requesting
LGTM, although I would prefer if this was a client-side extension of
cert-request rather than a completely new command.
I did try that at first, but I struggled to figure out the interface for
the modified cert-request. (Not that the current solution is so great,
what with the copying of options from cert_request and certreq.) If I
remember correctly, I was uncertain how to implement parameters that are
required/invalid based on other parameters: the current cert-request
takes a signed CSR (required), a principal (required), and a profile ID;
the new cert-request (what I implemented as cert-build) takes a
principal (required), a profile ID (required), and a key location
(required). I can't remember if that was the only problem, but I'll try
again to merge the commands and get back to you.
Other prototypes and design ideas that aren't ready for submission yet:
- Utility written in C to build a CertificationRequestInfo from a
SubjectPublicKeyInfo and an openssl-style config file. The purpose of
this is to take a config that my code already knows how to generate, and
put it in a form that certmonger can use. This is nearly done and
Nice! As I said above, this could really make implementing the "new"
csrgen interface simple.
- Ideally it should be possible to use this tool to reimplement the full
cert-request automation (local-cert-build branch) without a dependency
on the certutil/openssl tools. However, I don't think any of the python
crypto libraries have bindings for the functions that deal with
CertificationRequestInfo objects, so I don't think I can do this in the
You can use python-cffi to write your own minimal bindings. It's
fairly straightforward, take a look at FreeIPA commit 500ee7e2 for an
example of how to port C code to Python with python-cffi.
Thank you for the example. I will take a look.
- Certmonger "helper" program that takes in the CertificationRequestInfo
that certmonger generates, calls out to IPA for profile-specific data,
and returns an updated CertificationRequestInfo built from the data.
Certmonger doesn't currently support this type of helper, but (if I
understood correctly) this is the architecture Nalin believed would be
simplest to fit in. This is not done yet, but I intend to complete it
soon - it shouldn't require much code beyond what's in
To me this sounds like it should be a new operation of the current
helper rather than a completely new helper.
Maybe so. I certainly wouldn't call this a finished design, I just
wanted to have some kind of proof of concept for how the certmonger
integration could work. For what it's worth, that prototype is now
available at .
Anyway, the ultimate goal is to move the csrgen code to the server,
which means everything the helper will have to do is call a command
- Tool to convert an XER-encoded cert extension to DER, given the ASN.1
description of the extension. This would unblock Jan Cholasta's idea of
using XSLT for templates rather than text-based formatting. I should be
able to implement the conversion tool, but it may be a while before I
have time to demo the full XSLT idea.
Was there any progress on this?
I have started working on implementing it with asn1c, and I'm already
seeing some of the inconvenience (security issues aside) of building on
the server. Libtasn1 seems like a much better model, but doesn't seem to
have XER support. Anyway, don't quite have results here yet but I think
I should have the XER->DER demo with asn1c ready in a week or two.
So: currently on my to do list are the certmonger helper and the
XER->DER conversion tool. Do you have any comments about these plans,
and is there anything else I can do to wrap up the project neatly?
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