Subject: Re: bin/2905: setting environment vars from login
To: Christian Kuhtz <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: current-users
Date: 11/06/1996 01:30:14
[ On Tue, November  5, 1996 at 11:47:02 (-0700), Christian Kuhtz wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: bin/2905: setting environment vars from login
> On Sun, 3 Nov 96 19:41:12 -0500 (EST), (Greg A. Woods)  
> mumbled:
> > Saying that such and such feature is allows someone to trip over an
> > as-yet un-introduced potential security weakness isn't saying much at
> > all.  I think it would be much more productive to develop a validated
> > security profile such that a feature like this can be added without fear
> > of the unknown.
> 1. It would help if you could be less ambiguous.

I don't know how I can be much clearer about what the future might bring.

> 2. Part of a working and effective security policy is security planning, and
>    that includes observing changes very closely and with scrutiny.  RTFM.

Agreed.  But what are you getting at?  We're scrutinizing this proposed
change to death!  ;-)

> IMHO, that argumentation is extremely weak.  Just because you know that  
> there's a bigger hole somewhere means that you don't care about the little  
> ones anymore?!

Yes, it's a poor argument.  I was trying to say that the risk of the
proposed feature is nil in most cases, while the possible benefit is
present in all cases.

> In a commercial environment you should be able to find a better solution  
> than this kludge.  And it is nothing more than that at this point: a  
> kludge.
> So far, no one has been able to demonstrate the absolute neccessity for  
> this additional feature/junk in /bin/login.

I don't think this is a kludge at all.  It's merely an extension of the
same feature that's available to sh, awk, make, and probably many other
tools that I've forgotten about.

It's also not something necessary for a commercial environment, per se.
I merely noted that many commercial operating systems already provide
this feature, and I do know that many people make use of this feature in
elegant and useful ways.

It's not an absolutely necessary feature, obviously.  However it has
many minor benefits.  I've been known to use it constantly to correct
the TZ and TERM settings when connecting to systems where I know better
what they should be.  It's also useful for controlling various special
services that need to be started at login and thus reducing the need for
multiple accounts for one entity.

							Greg A. Woods

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