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Revision as of 21:51, 21 July 2009 by Emaldonado (talk | contribs) (Summary)

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Feature Name

Split Softoken off from NSS


The softokn cryptographic module of NSS should be split off as nss-softokn package. The utilities library which is a common library required by softokn and the rest of nss utils should also be packaged separately as nss-utils.


  • email:

Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 29
  • Last updated: (DATE)
  • Percentage of completion: 50%

Detailed Description

The softkn cryptographic module of NSS should be split off as the nss-softkn pacakage. A set of utilities with is called by both softkn and the rest of NSS would also need to be packaged as its own package.

NSS is FIPS 140 validated but what is really submitted for FIPS validation is the cryptographic module, that is softkn. This split is to enable users and packagers to upgrade to the current version of NSS while preserving the last FIPS validated version of the cryptographic module if they so require. Fedora based distributions such as, but not limited to, RHEL would greatly benefit from this feature in terms of maintenance.

Benefit to Fedora

It will make Fedora a convenient Linux distribution to use when trying to be FIPS compliant.


This will not affect developers as it is a packaging change only ans changes in the NSS API are required nor changes to their build systems. The same libraries are shipped as before. They just get distributed among three packages.

How To Test

Separately package nss, nss-softkn, and nss-util all having the same version numbers. Separately package nss, and nss-util as the very latest release while keeping nss-softn at an earlier release such as the current release which gor FIPS validated. There should not be any conflicts at installation time. There should be no regressions for components that depend on NSS such as: glibc, pimod_nss, nss_compat_nss, crypto-utils, openswan, and Pidgin's libpurple.

User Experience

Neither developers nor end users should notice any difference with the exception seeing more packages being installed if they look closely at their yum installs or upgrades.


glibc, pmod_nss, nss_compat_nss, crypto-utils, openswan, and libpurple are some packages that depend on NSS. NSSS has no significant dependencies except for NSPR and this would have no effect on this relationship.

Contingency Plan

There are two contingency plans in case this split cannot be accomplished in time. 1) Make softkn and util subpacakes of nss instead of separte packages. 2) Revert to the current monolithic approach.


  • A proof of concept implementation of this proposal can be obtained by executing

git clone git://

Release Notes

  • The Fedora Release Notes should describe the new packaging.

Comments and Discussion