MacPorts Mountain Lion Futures

James Berry jberry at
Mon Jun 18 20:30:10 PDT 2012

Here's a bit of dreaming out loud about MacPorts under Mountain Lion and future architectures in a Gatekeeper world.

With Gatekeeper, there are three (or four) tiers of binary deliver we can/should/might consider signing:

 (a) The MacPorts installer should be signed.

 (b) The MacPorts-installation should be signed.  The binaries here include daemondo, as well as the Tcl extension libraries.

 (c) Binaries built by the MacPorts build-bots could be signed.

 (d) Binaries built by MacPorts users could be signed.

I think this would call for at least three-different signing keys:

	(1) Official MacPorts distribution signing key for (a) and (b).

	(2) MacPorts build-bot signing key, for (c). This key is more vulnerable to revocation than (1), since it is used to sign a broad variety of software (the ports) that we have somewhat less control over, so it should likely be distinct.

	(3) The MacPorts user could have a per-user or per-machine signing key with which to sign software built by the user on their machine.

If it's possible and feasible to sign binaries for ports, then a per-user and/or per-machine key should be used to sign binaries for each port built. It would be very nice if this didn't require per-port changes, and could be done wholesale.

One approach I've pondered:

 - Create an additional phase ("sign") to code-sign. Maybe this would run on the destroot?

 - The sign phase would examine all files (in the destroot?), and sign each binary (executable, library or framework?) (if not already signed?).

 - The signing key would be per-user/per-machine. So on the build-bot this would be the configured build-bot key (2), and on a user machine it would be the user's key. If no key then no signing.

It seems plausible that all that could be accomplished without too many huge hacks. I likely won't work on any of that any time soon, but thought I'd expose my thinking in case anybody else is so-inclined.

I believe Josh has put in the work already to at least accomplish (a). Do we need to create an apple-recognized official signing key for (1) before we distribute that?

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