Student Application

Currently, Debian provides no user-friendly way to update configuration files: It is not clear what the purpose of upstream changes are and thus no automatic merging is possible.

In this Google Summer of Code Project we want to introduce a simple way for maintainers to specify the relevance of individual configuration options. When the specification and the default option changes, a tool will validate options to achieve better quality attributes such as security.

For example, we want to increase ServerKeyBits of the openssh-server. Thus we specify:

[openssh/sshd/ServerKeyBits]
default = 2048
security = (<= 1024) ? (-1000) : (+1000)

Using the conditional expression in security, we now gave ?ServerKeyBits the semantics so that the validation tool knows it should trigger a warning if the configuration option is 1024 or below.

The goal of this Google Summer of Code Project: we want to extend the Elektra framework to support such specified quality attributes and write a tool that allows us to validate such configurations. Additionally, we write a specification for important Debian packages such as the openssh-server.

We will provide regular updates about the projects status and try to consider the community feedback.