restricted execution

Lawrie Brown Lawrie.Brown@REDACTED
Tue Jun 10 13:34:31 CEST 2003

On Tue, Jun 10, 2003 at 08:49:11AM +0200, Torbjorn Tornkvist wrote:
> Lawrie Brown, <Lawrie.Brown@REDACTED>, has done lots of work
> in this area. Check with him what the status is of his work.

> erlang@REDACTED wrote:
> >What I do want to be able to do:  run a user-provided process with some
> >assurance that the only external data access it has is precisely that which
> >I can provide it.
> >
> >I realise that quite likely the basic form of Erlang doesn't make provision
> >for this, but looking at the facilities for cookies and so on, it strikes
> >me that something ought to be possible.

The essence of the answer is to ensure that the "untrusted" erlang node is
forced to use a (more) trusted node to mediate all external communications
to ensure it conforms to your policy. As it stands I don't believe the
current OTP erlang ndes make it easy to do this (though by running the
untrusted node in a chroot jail and seriously constraining its environment
you could probably hack it up). 

It IS indeed one of the key features I intended for the "safe erlang"
proposals I worked up with Dan Sahlin back in 1997. At that time we
did a "proof of concept" as a shim layer (in Erlang) over the then current
OTP implementation (which used the JAM machine then).

Last year I worked on implenting the extensions for real using the
EC compiler being developed by SERC, RMIT. Its about 95% done (the
missing bit is the distribution protocol - which is pretty critical
I'm the first to agree). Unfortunately work pressures mean this is
on hold till I get time to finish it (or someone else does).

Because I was busy coding, I haven't yet had a lot of time to write the
work up (though I'll have a paper on some of the design decisions I
had to make in the runtime for AUUG in Sept this year). What info there
is you can source off my web pages on this at:

The AUUG paper should hopefully be up in the next month or so.


------------------------------------ <*> ------------------------------------
Post: Dr Lawrie Brown, Computer Science, UNSW@REDACTED, Canberra 2600 Australia
Phone: 02 6268 8816    Fax: 02 6268 8581    Web: 

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