[Snort-devel] "stuck at RHEL5"?

Castle, Shane scastle at ...3143...
Mon Jan 24 10:44:33 EST 2011

CentOS != RHEL. If you think otherwise you are mistaken.

Shane Castle
Data Security Mgr, Boulder County IT

-----Original Message-----
From: Crusty Saint [mailto:saintcrusty at ...2499...] 
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 02:31
To: JP Vossen
Cc: snort-devel at lists.sourceforge.net
Subject: Re: [Snort-devel] "stuck at RHEL5"?


I totally do NOT get 70% of what you're complaining about. 

Without any prior snort knowledge i got it to run 100% on a Centos EL5
installation. RTFM first, everything you need is in there. Based on the
docs it is quite easy to build a script that automatically gathers your
dependencies for building from source, though admittedly this is
something sourcefire could have done themselves.

There are offered external repo's that do supply libpcap and many but
not all required libs. Not satisfied with these because they don't offer
the same warranty RH/CO do offer ? Then don't use RH-based distro's, the
base support for libs on this platform is plain poor. I never get why
people bother to even offer rpm's and they do require quite a load of
extra work to support them. Debian-based distro's deliver a much wider
supported base from a single repo, as this distro is alive and not
beaten flat by corporate interest and focus.

No offence, but i've had the same objections and found only it took
about 4 hours to resolve most of it once and for all. It is also
possible to build snort in /opt and use it's own separate directory of
libs under /opt

2011/1/12 JP Vossen <jp at ...629...>

	I'll comment in-line (with trimming) on both Joel and Nigel's
	Thanks to you both for the useful and informative answers.

	On 01/08/2011 01:57 PM, Joel Esler wrote:
	> On Sat, Jan 8, 2011 at 5:53 AM, JP Vossen<jp at ...629...>
	>> Main point up front:
	>> Who else votes for better RHEL5/CentOS-5 support and longer
	>> And who else votes for actual support of RHEL6 (and CentOS-6
whenever it
	>> finally gets here) that conforms the the RHEL life-cycle not
the SF
	>> whatever-the-hell-the-devs-feel-like-this-week Snort
	> We don't do things "just for the hell of it".  There are
reasons for the
	> decisions we make, and maybe I need to do a better job of
explaining those
	> reasons so our community understands them.
	That was probably unfair of me, but that's sometimes what it
feels like
	from this end.
	> In the case of Snort 2.9, that meant FC13 and would have meant
	> 5.5.  We do not update our platform support for patch releases
	> since there is a larger QA effort in terms of
reimaging systems
	> that we simply cannot swallow.  That is one of the many
reasons we release
	> source code in tarball format, so users can build on any
platform they
	> desire.
	I get the point about patch releases, though I might argue it
	nebulous fast.  RHEL 5.0 to 5.3 are officially "unsupported" [1]
so we
	can't be using those, so you do need to support patch releases.
On the
	other hand, by the very nature of "RHEL" and LTS, stuff should
	Work.  That's the whole point, and why stuff doesn't change
much.  So
	you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.  But some of
this has
	more to do with CYA than technical issues.  More on that in a
	[1] https://access.redhat.com/support/policy/updates/errata/
	Perhaps a slight terminology change might help (for new stuff
	forward).  Instead of "/centos-5-4/" it could be "/centos-5/" or

	> With Snort 2.9 and the release of DAQ, we now require libpcap
1.0 or higher.
	> This is simply not a package that is included in the standard
distro build
	> of CentOS 5.5 (FC13), and the Snort development team are not
going to
	> repackage libpcap within the Snort RPMs, so we're stuck there
as well.
	That one I have a problem with.  "not a package that is included
in the
	standard distro" and "not going to repackage libpcap within the
	RPMs" should be mutually exclusive IMHO.  For a *supported* OS,
	you use what is provided in the distro, or you provide the
	pieces.  Period, end of story.
	Somewhere in _Absolute FreeBSD_ Lucas talks about one of the
main goals
	of good technical writing:  "you do the work so your readers
don't have
	to."  The same goes for packaging software: you do the work so
	users don't have to.
	If you want folks to use Snort, you have to make the barrier to
entry as
	low as possible.  That's why I was involved in the Snort RPMs
for a
	while circa 2004 (grep the spec file), and that's a large part
of why
	I'm writing this.  (I already solved *my* problems, with help
	Vincent to avoid reinventing some wheels.)
	That means *really* supporting the things you say you support.
	brings us back to the need to find out what needs to be
supported.  As
	I've mentioned, maybe there are fewer RHEL/CentOS users than I
	there are.  (Maybe that question should go on the Users list and
	as already discussed.)
	If only a few folks use RHEL/CentOS then you should not devote a
lot of
	resources to them and I'll shut up.  My gut feeling is that lots
	them, but hey, I've been wrong before.

	> There is a plan to build on CentOS 6 for Snort 2.9.1 (our next
	> version) assuming it's available, so there will (read: should)
be RPMS for
	> the RHEL6 platform.

	> We will not be able to support RHEL 5 because of the
	> above points.
	That's disappointing to hear, especially since Vincent has
	solved the problems for you.
	Maybe that's a way to work-around some of these build and
	issues.  Instead of having the community host the builds, have
us solve
	the problems and then you implement and host the packages.
Maybe you
	could give such folks a break on subscriptions or something.
	>> Due to NDAs if we want certain rules we *have* to use the
	>> ones.  OK, I get it.  I don't like it, but I get it.  Also
not SF's fault.
	> Thank you for recognizing that.  We'll make some changes
around this soon I
	> hope.
	Looking forward to that.  Please blog & ML the details as much
	advance as you can.
	>> Huh?!?  FC9, 11, 12, but not 10, and all of which are
obsolete and
	>> unsupported.  But not F13 (that Snort is actually compiled
for) or F14
	>> (current), not CentOS-5.5 (current).  RHEL-5.0, also
unsupported but not
	>> RHEL-5.5 (or just use the CentOS).  And why "8.04" (correct)
but "10-4"?
	>>   WTH is "10-4?"  (80's flashback: 10-4 good buddy! :)
	> Okay, we can correct this, thanks for bringing it to our
	Carefully...  Even though it's inconsistent and arguably wrong,
	have probably scripted against it, or are expecting it to stay
the way
	it is.  You can't just go change it one day...  (I know, I'm
	impossible... :)  I'd say you could sym or hard link it, but
	fail on Windows.  You could just dup it, but that makes the
	bigger.  Honestly, you probably should leave it alone, and just
put some
	SoP in place to be consistent in the future.
	Sorry if it sounds like I'm being wishy-washy; I wanted to point
out the
	issue but I'm not sure there is an ideal solution.  (Damned if
you do or

	> The VRT
	> maintains a separate build environment that is much larger
than the Snort
	> team's build env, simply for the Shared Object rules.  (adding
OpenBSD to
	> that above list very soon as well.)  Maybe we can get to a
point in the near
	 From and outside and naive perspective I want to ask why you
can't all
	just get along...but I won't; I get it.  I'm usually not a fan
of The
	Cloud, but perhaps in this case EC2 instances used for a few
hours a
	month might be worthwhile and in budget?  Though there's that
setup cost
	again.  Community help?

	> future where we can align the builds for VRT and Snort Dev to
make it easier
	> for the community, but then we'll run into the reverse effect,
and we'll
	> catch scorn for that as well.  So we are between a rock and
hard place. But
	> we'll sit down internally and figure this stuff out.
	Not sure what reverse effect you're talking about, but I do
agree you
	can easily get into damned if you do and damned if you don't
	 Heck, I've listed a bunch of them in this message.

	> Personally, I have a box here at the house that is Fedora Core
10.  It's
	> running the FC-9 Shared Object rules.  They work fine.
Undocumented, but
	> they work.  That's my own personal work around.   I have to
maintain my own
	> compiles for libpcap, libdnet, and such as well.
Unfortunately that's the
	> price I pay for not wanting to move my personal box to a
higher version.
	>   Not a realistic expectation in the enterprise world.  But
that's the price
	> of free software for me.
	And now we get to one of the other main points that I didn't
	originally.  Some of this is just plain big enterprise CYA.  If
	something breaks I don't want to have to explain to management
why I am
	using something that is "officially unsupported" regardless of
the fact
	that we all know it'll almost certainly work.  And that puts me
	a rock and a hard place.
	I want to use CentOS, but in order for that to be "current" and
	"supported" I need to use 5.4 and soon 5.5.  There are
precompiled rules
	for Centos-5-4, but not an "official" Snort.org working
	 You get the idea...
	> Right, I understand that.  Personally (and not speaking for
the company on
	> this point), I'd rather we don't build RPMs at all. I'd rather
we just put
	> out the tarball and let the package maintainers keep the
distros up to date.
	>   Unfortunately, they don't.  We have some packages way back
in 2.6 land
	> laying around because the package maintainer either stopped
doing it, got
	> lazy, whatever.  Doesn't matter, the point is they are out of
date.  So we
	> put out a few.
	Yeah, I get that.  My knee-jerk reaction was going to be to
suggest you
	dedicate some time from an internal resource to this.  Once you
get it
	up and running (non-trivial), maintaining it wouldn't be that
big a
	deal, especially with ready access to the devs.  But when I
	about it some more, you will run into policy problems, certainly
	Debian, and probably with most/all the others, regarding version
	"freezes" and such. :-(  IOW they won't let you move nearly as
fast as
	you want to.  So then the package maintainer has to try to
	fixes and features, which is impossible without other changes,
as we've
	beaten to death above, and which will be disallowed by distro
policy anyway.
	Some faster-moving projects (e.g., Wine, OpenOffice, and now
	LibreOffice) maintain "third-party" repos and/or Ubuntu PPAs,
but now
	we're really taking about some startup costs (in terms of
	 Maybe get a summer intern to do that or something?
	So I have to come back to: find out what your users want,
publish that
	and prioritize.  I didn't look all that hard, but I didn't find
	handy "requirements" or "supported" lists on the Snort.org site.
	stick it on the downloads page if it were me.  Maybe also point
to the
	community repos, but that gets dicey for "security" tools.
	packages with sigs posted on the official site will be a help
	> The big thing with RHEL 5* is the lack of libpcap 5.0.
	Yup, and Vincent showed us how to work around that (more below).

	> The version of Snort that will run on RHEL 5 without libpcap
modification is
	>  VRT still maintains rules for this version, and will
until the
	> next point release of Snort comes out (2.9.1) (+90 days) in
accordance with
	> our EOL policy.  http://www.snort.org/vrt/rules/eol_policy
	But you are going to EoL that *long* before EoL on RHEL5...

	> OK, rant over.  (If anyone actually read this far... :)
	>> <rant off>
	> JP, it's perfectly fine!  Just understand what I read above.
We don't make
	> this stuff up on a whim, there are technical reasons for it.
When we
	> provide new and better functionality, like with DAQ, sometimes
that requires
	> something newer.  We have to release new functionality, so we
do, but we get
	> in trouble there, but if we don't release new functionality,
we get accused
	> of being dead and get in trouble there too and can't detect
newer problems.
	Yup, it's certainly a tightrope.
	> Thank you for the kudos.  You are more than welcome to tell me
what we are
	> doing wrong, and I will see what I can do to make it better.
If we can't
	> make stuff better (like release a, or support RHEL 5),
I'll try and
	> lay out the reasons for that on the blog/here.  I am trying to
make the blog
	> worth reading, and hopefully I have so far.

	> Yes, Kudos to Vincent.  He is also going to start signing his
RHEL supported
	> packages for you guys, which is excellent as well.  As far as
I know, he did
	> exactly what I suggested above.  He downloaded the libpcap
source code, and
	> made an RPM out of it.  We can't do it, so the community
stepped up. I
	> appreciate this very much, and I think it's phenomenal that
our community is
	> getting more involved.
	He also tweaked things in a way that allows *both* the stock
RHEL5 and
	the newer libpcap to be installed at the same time.  That's a
Big Deal,
	because you don't have to do evil things like '--no-deps' to get
it to
	install, then have conflicts with things like the stock PPP.
	On 01/08/2011 04:07 PM, Nigel Houghton wrote:
	 > I can shed light on the platform support for the pre-compiled
	 > since it is my group within the VRT who build and maintain
	 > systems that the so rules are built on.
	 > Our intention is to keep pace with the major distributions as
far as
	 > the platforms go. That is, we intend to keep those systems up
to date
	 > with the latest supported version of each distro along with
at least
	 > one supported version back. Right now for example, we have
Ubuntu 10-4
	 > and 8-04. The latest version of Ubuntu is 10-10 yes, however
in this
	 > case Ubuntu 10-4 LTS is the one we are sticking with since
that is the
	 > one designated for long term support (hence the LTS).
	I *strongly* support you supporting *only* LTS releases!  As I
noted a
	few different ways, 6 month life-cycles (OK, they are a bit
longer than
	that, but still) are way too short.  Debian is more-or-less
	LTS anyway, as are RHEL and CentOS.  I don't follow the BSDs as
	so I won't comment there.
	Nothing in InfoSec is "set it and forget it" but I think it's
fair to
	say that sensor OS upgrades are something we want to deal with
as little
	and infrequently as possible.  (Engine upgrades too, but Joel's
	about innovating or dieing is well taken.)

	 > As for RHEL, we are planning on adding support for RHEL 6 as
soon as
	 > resources allow, at which point we will also address the 5-0
vs 5-5
	 > issue.

	 > FC-10 was not added since 11 and 12 were already out, so we
went with
	 > those. The support for FC-9 will more than likely end in the
	 > future and we will re-purpose those resources so we can
support other
	 > distros and versions.
	Makes sense.  No doubt you'll catch flak for that too, but it
won't be
	from me.

	 > On top of all this, we are adding more support for 64 bit
	 > (another reason for FC-9 still lingering around at the moment
since we
	 > don't have the 64 bit platforms for 11 and 12 yet). It is our
	 > to have i386 and x64 support for each distribution.
	Yes, 64-bit support is more important every day.  (I just ran
into a
	2038 bug over the weekend, totally unrelated to Snort.)

	 > We should be able to start shipping so rules for OpenBSD in
the coming
	 > week, we still have some testing to do but that should be
	 > pretty soon. If I was going to stick my neck out and give a
date, it
	 > would probably be Thursday.
	Excellent!  Please blog it.

	 > All this effort does of course take careful planning and
	 > allocation to achieve these goals. We cannot reach them
overnight, it
	 > takes time. A tremendous amount of work goes on behind the
scenes to
	 > deliver this support, we have made progress already, we have
a plan,
	 > we'll get to a consistent state sooner rather than later.
	It's nice to know that you see the issues and are working
towards fixing
	Thanks again for the feedback.
	JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
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