SHANE LONTIS shane.lontis at oracle.com
Wed Jun 5 02:47:19 UTC 2019

> On 5 Jun 2019, at 12:34 pm, Richard Levitte <levitte at openssl.org> wrote:
> Aside from the discussion below, if there's one thing I would like to
> change, it the double indirection for the _PTR data types.  The data
> types could still be used to indicate that the value isn't short
> lived, but could possibly change names to something like
> On Wed, 05 Jun 2019 01:18:56 +0200,
> Dr Paul Dale wrote:
>> Shane’s major complaints are about the indirection the OSSL_PARAM structure forces — for integers
>> and return lengths and the necessity of allocating additional memory in parallel with the
>> The extra indirection was intended to support const arrays of OSSL_PARAM, which turn out to be a
>> rarity because they aren’t thread safe.
> The reason why we have this issue is our base C language version
> choice.  C90 doesn't allow this construct:
>    int foo(whatever)
>    {
>        int haha = 0;
>        const OSSL_PARAM params[] = {
>            { 'foo', OSSL_PARAM_INTEGER, &haha, sizeof(haha), NULL },
>            { NULL, 0, NULL, 0, NULL }
>        };
>        ...
>    }
The above code is great in theory, but it looks like in practice we end up dynamically allocating in most cases anyway (via the construct_ methods).
And if this is the normal use case then OSSL_PARAMS could be made opaque and only accessed by API’s, then the argument about adding
extra types later on should also disappear?

> Because the compiler for that language version isn't allowed to emit
> code to use '&haha' in an inititializer.  Newer C language versions
> allow this.
> So while this is an issue for *us*, it isn't necessarily an issue for
> our users, all depending on what C language version they use.
>> With most OSSL_PARAM structure being dynamically created,
>> the need for the indirection seems redundant.  E.g. could the return length be moved into
>> OSSL_PARAM?  I think so.
> The design was not only to be able to have nice compile time
> initialization, but also to be able to pass the array as 'const
> OSSL_PARAM *', i.e. an indication to the recipient that the array
> itself should never be modified (less chance of compromise).  Maybe
> that's overly paranoid, but that was a line of thinking.
>> Moving integral values into the structure is more difficult because BIGNUMs will always need to be
>> references.  Allocating additional memory will still be required.  I’ve got three obvious
>> solutions:
>> 1. include a void * in the OSSL_PARAM structure that needs to be freed when the structure is
>> destroyed or
> It's actually perfectly possible to do this today.  We already have
> this pointer, it's called 'data'.
>> 2. have a block of data in the OSSL_PARAM structure that can be used for native types
>> (OSSL_UNION_ALIGN works perfectly for this) or
> My major concern with that, apart from having to modify the OSSL_PARAM
> items themselves¸ is that some time in the future, we will want to add
> another native type that's larger, which means we modify the size of a
> OSSL_PARAM.  It's a public structure, so that can't be treated
> lightly.
> Also, with a union of native types, we're losing uniformity on MSB
> first platforms.  Having an exact 1:1 integer size match will be
> crucial, and that complicates the code quite a bit...  not to mention
> that we have a compatibility problem as soon as one end has a new
> native type in the union and the other doesn't.
> (one would imagine that simply using uintmax_t would cover all integer
> sizes apart from BIGNUM, but the potential size change of that type
> with newer compilers make such a choice precarious)
>> 3. add a flag field to the OSSL_PARAM to indicate that the referenced value needs to be freed.
> By whom?  The owner of the array should be in complete control of
> what's needed already, so should be able to know what needs being
> deallocated or not.
> If you're thinking that the receiving side should free certain values,
> then you need to pass a pointer to the routine to be used to free the
> value rather than just a flag.
>> The memory allocation comes to the for when reading e.g. a file and extracting data — either the
>> reader needs a lot of local variables to hold everything or it has to allocated for each.  The
>> file’s data is transient in memory.
>> For the most part, the receiver side APIs seem reasonable.  It is the owning side that has the
>> complications.
>> I think I might be able come up with some owner side routines that assist here but allowing
>> changes to the params structure would be far easier.
>> I kind of like using the OSSL_PARAM arrays as a replacement for string ctrl functions if not ctrl
>> as well (subject to backward compatibility concerns).
>> Pauli
>> -- 
>> Dr Paul Dale | Cryptographer | Network Security & Encryption 
>> Phone +61 7 3031 7217
>> Oracle Australia
>>    On 4 Jun 2019, at 11:26 pm, Richard Levitte <levitte at openssl.org> wrote:
>>    On Tue, 04 Jun 2019 14:57:00 +0200,
>>    Salz, Rich wrote:
>>              Part of the idea was that this would be a means of communication
>>           between application and provider, just like controls are with
>>           libcrypto sub-systems.
>>        I can probably find the email thread (or maybe it was a GitHub
>>        comment on my proposal for params), where you said, quite
>>        definitively, that this was *not* a general-purpose mechanism but
>>        rather a way to expose the necessary internals for opaque objects
>>        like RSA keys.
>>    Either I misunderstood what you said at the time, or you misunderstood
>>    what I said...  there's definitely a disconnect here somewhere.
>>    What I wonder is why it should be exclusively only one of those
>>    options?
>>    Either way, the OSSL_PARAM is defined publically and openly (i.e.
>>    non-opaque), and we currently have the following functions in the
>>    public API:
>>       EVP_MD_CTX_set_params
>>       EVP_MD_CTX_get_params
>>       OSSL_PROVIDER_get_params
>>    I fully expect that more will come.  I have a branch where I've
>>    EVP_MAC_CTX_set_params, for example, and I wouldn't be surprised if
>>    EVP_CIPHER_CTX_set_params and EVP_CIPHER_CTX_get_params appear before
>>    long (I'm actually rather surprised they haven't already), and I'm
>>    absolutely sure we will see similar functions for asymmetric
>>    algorithms.
>>        What changed your mind?
>>        Perhaps not surprisingly, I agree with Shane's assessment and am
>>        strongly opposed to the project foisting this on everyone at this
>>        time.  @DavidBen, your thoughts?
>>    Maybe we're reading differently, I didn't see Shane being opposed to
>>    parameter passing in this way per se, just the exact form of the
>>    OSSL_PARAM structure, which is different.
>>    Cheers,
>>    Richard
>>    --
>>    Richard Levitte         levitte at openssl.org
>>    OpenSSL Project         https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.openssl.org_-7Elevitte_&d=DwIFaQ&c=RoP1YumCXCgaWHvlZYR8PZh8Bv7qIrMUB65eapI_JnE&r=b1aL1L-m41VGkedIk-9Q7taAEKIshTBwq95Iah07uCk&m=9ytfNGgWmI_VuIgUOtVRqe_gd7wVOdag8ayBWLrTL_Q&s=PH8nRCRnGHZdpfCcpSTpW9mLIgviKCbEw6-5w7cc5i4&e= <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.openssl.org_-7Elevitte_&d=DwIFaQ&c=RoP1YumCXCgaWHvlZYR8PZh8Bv7qIrMUB65eapI_JnE&r=b1aL1L-m41VGkedIk-9Q7taAEKIshTBwq95Iah07uCk&m=9ytfNGgWmI_VuIgUOtVRqe_gd7wVOdag8ayBWLrTL_Q&s=PH8nRCRnGHZdpfCcpSTpW9mLIgviKCbEw6-5w7cc5i4&e=>
> -- 
> Richard Levitte         levitte at openssl.org <mailto:levitte at openssl.org>
> OpenSSL Project         https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.openssl.org_-7Elevitte_&d=DwIFaQ&c=RoP1YumCXCgaWHvlZYR8PZh8Bv7qIrMUB65eapI_JnE&r=b1aL1L-m41VGkedIk-9Q7taAEKIshTBwq95Iah07uCk&m=9ytfNGgWmI_VuIgUOtVRqe_gd7wVOdag8ayBWLrTL_Q&s=PH8nRCRnGHZdpfCcpSTpW9mLIgviKCbEw6-5w7cc5i4&e= <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.openssl.org_-7Elevitte_&d=DwIFaQ&c=RoP1YumCXCgaWHvlZYR8PZh8Bv7qIrMUB65eapI_JnE&r=b1aL1L-m41VGkedIk-9Q7taAEKIshTBwq95Iah07uCk&m=9ytfNGgWmI_VuIgUOtVRqe_gd7wVOdag8ayBWLrTL_Q&s=PH8nRCRnGHZdpfCcpSTpW9mLIgviKCbEw6-5w7cc5i4&e=>
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