Respository vandalism by root at ...fd.o

Luc Verhaegen libv at
Wed Nov 24 01:38:19 PST 2010

On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 06:33:19PM +1000, Peter Hutterer wrote:
> On 24/11/10 18:00 , Eirik Byrkjeflot Anonsen wrote:
>> 1. What systems do we have in place that enables us to detect when a
>>     "trusted admin" acts in "bad judgement" or with "evil intent"?  What
>>     is the probability that such actions will be noticed?  Can we do
>>     anything to increase this probability?
>> 2. What systems do we have in place that enables us to detect "evil
>>     commits" once they actually make their way into the repository?  What
>>     is the probability that they will be noticed?  Can we do anything to
>>     increase this probability?
> git is designed to not be screwed with easily, so the chance of bad  
> commits being detected is quite high.
> for well-maintained repositories, we tend to notice quite quickly. I'm  
> sure keith would notice whenever he can't push to xserver because no-one  
> else is supposed to commit to it.
> The same is true for other repositories, so the best safeguard here is  
> "active maintainership".
>> 3. When incidents are detected (break-ins, abuse of admin rights, evil
>>     commits, what have you...), what processes are in place to deal with
>>     this?  What information is published, and in which fora, and when?
>>     What investigations are performed, and what actions are carried out
>>     as a result of such investigations?  Where are these processes
>>     documented?
> I think in this particular case, a large number of insiders likely  
> assumed a prank before it was called out. There is a history of  
> disagreements between some of the X.Org developers and Luc and the  
> radeonhd project, so having this happen to this particular repository is  
> not that surprising after all (Note, this does not excuse the action,  
> merely explain some of the reactions). I'd have been more worried if  
> that had happened to e.g. the xserver repo.
> I don't think we have any official processes right now and certainly  
> none documented. Sending emails to the list to raise awareness is a good  
> approach IMO and Luc's first few emails were informative. The later part  
> of the thread somewhat lost usefulness when it descended to the usual  
> fights, conspiracy theories and name-calling. Staying on-topic should be  
> an essential part of any official process...

Conspiracy theories?

Come on man, Daniel Stone and Adam Jackson, known, over the years, for 
liking radeonhd, sit down, after most likely some alcohol and maybe even 
other substances, and pull this. According to irc, Adam, who had root 
access himself, used Daniel his account to do this, in a targetted and 
efficient manner. If i remember the timestamps right, the update script 
was moved back within 5 minutes of the commit.

Then 3 weeks ensued where nothing happened, where Adam and Daniel 
could've fixed their "spur of the moment" "mistake", without anyone 
noticing, but clearly, they did not come back on their steps.

It was a completely unnecessary event, and it only serves to show how 
certain projects, not suited to a certain group are being treated. And 
two former board, two people who joined the fork from 
xfree86 very early on, but who, as far as i can tell, were little or not 
involved with xfree86 at the time, and who got these access rights from 
very early on too, abused their power to trash existing but 
unmaintained free software project.

Now, of course everyone ties this in with my history with, from 
unichrome, to modesetting, to radeonhd, to fosdem, to graphics driver 

But you also might want to consider that i was at a hardware vendor two 
weeks ago, and i had to listen to their main engineer calling 
contributing directly to X a waste of time, and that they rather fix 
the versions their customers ship, and hand the patches to their 
customers directly, never bothering to submit to X directly. They rather 
implement stuff, hand it to their customers, as they know that their 
code will not be accepted, and that it will be reinvented a few weeks or 
months later. Then they go and use the reimplementation afterwards, and 
save a lot of manpower and frustration in the process. Despite all my 
personal feelings about free software and the likes, I had absolutely 
nothing to counter, anything i could even try to throw up against that 
would either be completely irrelevant and meek, or a lie.

_This_ is how the world works with an that works like that.

Someone just mailed it "i find it surprising that the person exposing 
the evildoing is getting more flack than the person(s) doing it".

Luc Verhaegen

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