svn checkout "head" or "stable"

David Noel david.i.noel at
Fri Sep 28 23:38:30 UTC 2012

On 9/28/12, David Noel <david.i.noel at> wrote:
> On 9/28/12, Matthew Seaman <matthew at> wrote:
>> On 28/09/2012 20:41, Ed Flecko wrote:
>>> David - I'd like to, but every time I try that it prompts me for a
>>> password...and I don't know what password it wants???
>> That would be the password to a account, which isn't going
>> to work for most people on two counts:
>>    * uses SSH keys for authentication, not passwords.
>>    * even if you've got a SSH key, not being a FreeBSD committer you
>>      probably don't have a account.
>> For anonymous access, you can use http or svn.  Given that anonymous
>> access is read-only, there's really not much to be gained from SSH or
>> other means of encrypting the connection, either for you, or for the
>> FreeBSD servers.  It's anonymous, so you don't care about
>> authentication.  FreeBSD sources are publicly available, so you don't
>> care about anyone eavesdropping on the traffic.  About the only thing
>> you're still exposed to is a man-in-the-middle attack, where someone
>> could pose as a FreeBSD server and feed you a trojanned set of sources
>> -- but then, you'ld still be exposed in exactly the same way even using
>> svn+ssh.  In practice, attacks of this type are very (pretty much
>> vanishingly) rare.  If they do concern you, then use portsnap(8) /
>> freebsd-update(8) which has specific cryptographic protection against
>> such things.  The portsnap and freebsd-update build systems also have
>> special access to the master FreeBSD repositories to minimize the
>> chances that they themselves could be fed trojanned sources.
>> 	Cheers,
>> 	Matthew
>> --
>> Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.
>> PGP:
> MITM-based attacks--and subsequent corrupted sources--are my concern.
> It was my understanding that anonymous svn+ssh would prevent this
> assuming the host key was properly verified against
> Recently I've installed from an iso and then manually updated with
> pgp-signed security patches. It would certainly be nice to have some
> secure source update mechanism though.

Apologies for the spam and the hastily written closing paragraph. I
was hoping to end with a heartwarming anecdote that would leave the
reader with no choice but to agree that anonymous ssh+svn access would
benefit us all.

AnonCVS is still of course an option, but with its eventual retirement
the addition of an anonymous svn+ssh account would seem fitting, or at
least consistent.


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