[erlang-questions] Ports and their owners

Robert Virding rvirding@REDACTED
Wed Feb 17 16:02:51 CET 2010

The original port communication mechanism is the purely message based
one. It was designed to follow the standard erlang process
communication mechanism as closely as possible, which is why the
sender must include its own pid in the message. The security of
communicating with a port would then be at the same level as process
communication. Erlang was never really designed to be secure *within*
a node and it is basically impossible to protect yourself internally.

IIRC port_command was added to bypass the need to communicate via the
port owner process. For what exactly what reason I can't remember.
Personally I have always felt that the pure message passing is much
cleaner and better fits into the rest of Erlang.


On 17 February 2010 15:11, Musumeci, Antonio S
<Antonio.Musumeci@REDACTED> wrote:
> Given:
> 1) Port ! {self(), {command, Data}} syntax will fail with badsig if the self() is not the port owner.
> 2) port_command(Port, Data) does not do this and allows any process to send messages to the port
> 3) ports have owners
> Question:
> Why is it (or am I missing how to do it) that I'm unable from the port side to find out who is sending the incoming message? It appears that there was this original intent to lock down the port but with port_command that was thrown away without the ability to be sure who's sending you the data so as it implement one's own security measures.
> If this is in fact true does anyone have suggestions on securing ports?
> Thanks.
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