Commit 1ab0cc3b authored by Colin Walters's avatar Colin Walters

README: Various updates

 - Note to use ostree-list for submissions
 - Link to Codethink's sandbox lib
 - Talk more about how other build
   systems root setups work and why l-u-c is unique, etc.
parent 5d237084
......@@ -5,24 +5,40 @@ This tool allows regular (non-root) users to call chroot(2), create
Linux bind mounts, and use some Linux container features. It's
primarily intended for use by build systems.
Project information
Currently, linux-user-chroot reuses
mailing list.
There's no web page yet; send patches to
Colin Walters <>
Please send patches there.
Why is this useful?
For build systems, being inside a chroot ensures that the build isn't
picking up files it shouldn't be. This helps avoid the problem of
"host contamination", where e.g. we want libfoo.h from inside our
root, not the one outside the root.
Second, it helps avoid the fragility inherent in having to set up a
large set of environment variables pointing to our root (e.g. PATH,
LD_LIBRARY_PATH, XDG_DATA_DIRS, etc.). Once we chroot, PATH is just
the same as it normally is (/bin:/usr/bin).
There are a few well-known approaches for software build roots:
- Set up a chroot as root, then chroot in, and become non-root
This is the model currently used by both rpm and dpkg.
The problem with this is that if you want to build *two* packages
where B depends on A, then the `%post` type scripts from A run
as root, and hence need to be fully trusted.
- Use `LD_PRELOAD` emulation
This is implemented by
The problem with this is that it's a speed hit, and maintaining
that sort of emulation is a long-term maintenance pain.
- Don't do any chrooting, use environment variables
This is implemented by `jhbuild`. The problem with this is there
are a *lot* of these, and it's really easy to get "host contamination",
where we silently pick up `/usr/include/foo.h` instead of the one
from the root.
What linux-user-chroot does is a variant of the first, except instead
of using root-owned files for the chroot, you simply make the chroot
data as non-root, and run `%post` type scripts as non-root too.
This works because we believe linux-user-chroot is secure; see below.
......@@ -99,3 +115,9 @@ This binary can be installed in two modes:
1) uwsr-xr-x root:root - Executable by everyone
2) uwsr-x--- root:somegroup - Executable only by somegroup
Programs using linux-user-chroot
- uses it for builds
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