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Revision as of 19:41, 19 September 2010 by Emaldonado (talk | contribs) (Recommendations for the Package Maintainer)

Feature Name

Split Softoken off from NSS


The softoken cryptographic module of NSS should be split off as the 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.


Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 12
  • Last updated: 2009-0726
  • Percentage of completion: 100%

Detailed Description

The softoken cryptographic module of NSS would be the nss-softkn pacakage. A set of utilities called by both softoken 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 and no changes to 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.

The nss shared libraries which are currently distributed as

 nss:,,,,,, libsoftokn3.chk,,
 softokn-freebl:, libfreebl3.chk (subpackage of nss)

would be distributed among the packages as

 softokn:, libsoftokn3.chk
 softokn-freebl:, libfreebl3.chk (subpackage of softokn)

How To Test

Separately package nss, nss-softokn, and nss-util all having the same version numbers. Separately package nss, and nss-util as the latest release while keeping nss-softokn at an earlier release such as the current release which was FIPS validated. There should not be conflicts at installation time in either of the above cases. Components that depend on NSS should install without conflicts There should be no regressions for components that depend on NSS. Examples of these are glibc, mod_nss, nss_compat_nss, crypto-utils, openswan, xulrunner, evolution, 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.


Upstream NSS 3.12.4 where some code reorganization was made to facilitate this work.

Contingency Plan

There are two contingency plans in case this split cannot be accomplished in time. 1) Make softokn and util sub-packages of nss instead of stand-alone packages. 2) Revert to using the current monolithic approach.


  • This proposal has been implemented in Rawhide

Release Notes

  • The softokn cryptographic module of NSS has been split off as the nss-softokn package

Comments and Discussion

Recommendations for the Package Maintainer

You will need to build the three packages is this order: nss-util, nss-softokn, and nss. In Rawhide the buildroot is updated frequently and we can also count on chained builds. This is not the case on the stable branches or the branch for the next fedora release after the branch which occurs with alpha. In these cases one must wait for the one package had been tagged into the build root before one can build the subsequent one. Often you will have some urgency. The procedures is open a ticket asking that the package you build be added to the builtroot and wait until so to proceed to the next step.

NOTE: Do not introduce a BuildRequire that is lower than the Require just so to be able to build the next package right away. It may build okay but will likely cause breakage later on when you try to install or some package that depends on nss will fail to build. All three packages have devel sub-packages. The BuildRequire must match the Requires in terms of version.

NOTE: One must coordinate with release engineering to progressively add packages to the buildroot. It takes waiting. Furthermore, one must get some assurance that all builds will succeed and and will not cause conflicts and avoid repeated request to release engineering. Testing is necessary.

Just submitting scratch builds is not sufficient because they will not get installed into the buildroot.

One could use multiple system builds and installs in various VM's. Once you have downloaded the packages, a 'yum --nogpgcheck localupdate packages-we-have-so-far' is one way to accomplish this. All dependencies must be satisfied and no conflicts shuould result.

Another way is to do mockbuilds and add the packages to our local buildroot as we go along. See

Building nss, nss-sotokn and nss-util using mock.

(If you haven't done so add ourself to the mock group usermod -a -G mock myusername)

Use Mock outside your git sandbox to build nss-util

Make nss-util using mock and also create the srpms for nss-softokn and nss which we will build inside the sandbox.

cd {were-the git-checkouts-are}/nss-util; fedpkg srpm mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --rebuild nss-util-{v}-{r}.fc15.src.rpm cd ../nss-softokn; fedpkg srpm cd ../nss; fedpkg srpm

Use Mock inside your git sandbox to build nss-softokn and nss First, initialize the mock repository:

mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --init

Install the packages you need to build nss-softokn and nss (named in BuildRequires) from the yum repositories and/or local RPMs.

mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --install \ sqlite-devel zlib-devel pkgconfig gawk psmisc perl nss-devel mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --install nss-util-{v}-{r}.fc15.rpm \ nss-util-devel-{v}-{r}.fc15.rpm

Copy in the nss-softokn source RPM into /tmp (we'll copy in and do a build inside the shell, to work around the checks that detect that the packages aren't in the repository):

mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --copyin /PATH/TO/NSS_SOFTOKN_SRPM_NAME /tmp mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --copyin /PATH/TO/NSS_SRPM_NAME /tmp

Shell into the mock environment and perform the builds:

mock -r fedora-rawhide-x86_64 --shell cd rpmbuild --rebuild /tmp/nss-softokn-{v}-{r}.fc15.src.rpm

Prepare to Build nss First add yourself as a user, password doesn't matter, to run the build (and test) as yourself not root. If the system doesn't find you it will run as root and this will cause two tests to fail.

user add yourself

and update to the softokn we just built

Update via rpm (can't use yum) to the nss-softokn rpms we just built cd /builddir/build/rpms rpm -Uhv nss-softokn-{v}-{r}.fc15.rpm \

nss-softokn-freebl-{v}-{r}.fc15.rpm \
 nss-softokn-devel-{v}-{r}.fc15.rpm \

QESTION: Do we need this step?

Now we are ready to build nss

cd su yourname rpmbuild --rebuild /tmp/nss-{v}-{r}.fc15.src.rpm

The nss build will take some time because we run all tests Once it suceeds you can install it and try a client application The results are in /home/yourname/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64

exit (bring you back to being root) cd /home/yourname/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64 rpm -Uhv {list-of-rpms} su yourname rpm -q curl will confirm that it is installed, use it to access a site $ curl

Question: This is just a minimal test, can we do some others?

Now we know the real builds will work. We haven't done much testing. Maybe we should have extracted the builds out at each step and made then available where we can download the to a test system and install them there with 'yum --nogpgcheck localupdate myrpms'. We