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Title: broken container/selinux integration
Type: behavior Stage: patch review
Components: IO Versions: Python 3.10, Python 3.9, Python 3.8
Status: open Resolution:
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: christian.heimes Nosy List: Leif Middelschulte, christian.heimes, ensc2, hynek
Priority: normal Keywords: patch

Created on 2019-11-22 07:37 by Leif Middelschulte, last changed 2022-04-11 14:59 by admin.

Pull Requests
URL Status Linked Edit
PR 21430 open christian.heimes, 2020-07-10 09:09
PR 23720 open christian.heimes, 2020-12-09 15:23
Messages (9)
msg357248 - (view) Author: Leif Middelschulte (Leif Middelschulte) Date: 2019-11-22 07:37
It seems Python does not necessarily determine that it is running inside a container correctly.

This leads to broken/unexpected behavior when trying to copy files across filesytems using `copy2`.
This directly affects Python3 inside the official `fedora:latest` image.

Steps to reproduce the issue can be found here: *might* be related too.
msg357250 - (view) Author: Christian Heimes (christian.heimes) * (Python committer) Date: 2019-11-22 07:53
From the Github bug:

copy2() fails while copying extended attributes.

# python3
Python 3.7.4 (default, Aug 12 2019, 14:45:07) 
[GCC 9.1.1 20190605 (Red Hat 9.1.1-2)] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import shutil
>>> shutil.copy2('/tmp/some_file', '/relabel_bug/failure')
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/usr/lib64/python3.7/", line 267, in copy2
    copystat(src, dst, follow_symlinks=follow_symlinks)
  File "/usr/lib64/python3.7/", line 209, in copystat
    _copyxattr(src, dst, follow_symlinks=follow)
  File "/usr/lib64/python3.7/", line 165, in _copyxattr
    os.setxattr(dst, name, value, follow_symlinks=follow_symlinks)
PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied: '/relabel_bug/failure'

The setxattr() fail is blocked SELinux:
type=AVC msg=audit(1573815617.682:1332): avc:  denied  { relabelto } for  pid=3157530 comm="python3" name="failure" dev="loop1" ino=12 scontext=system_u:system_r:container_t:s0:c552,c859 tcontext=system_u:object_r:fusefs_t:s0 tclass=file permissive=0

Could you please provide name and value of the setxattr() call? I bet it's trying to setxattr 'security.selinux' extended file attribute.
msg357433 - (view) Author: Leif Middelschulte (Leif Middelschulte) Date: 2019-11-25 09:13
> Could you please provide name and value of the setxattr() call? I bet it's trying to setxattr 'security.selinux' extended file attribute.

(Pdb) bt full
-> pdb._runscript(mainpyfile)
-> exec(cmd, globals, locals)
-> copy2('/tmp/some_file', '/relabel_bug/failure')
-> copystat(src, dst, follow_symlinks=follow_symlinks)
-> _copyxattr(src, dst, follow_symlinks=follow)
> /usr/lib64/python3.7/
-> os.setxattr(dst, name, value, follow_symlinks=follow_symlinks)
(Pdb) p dst
(Pdb) p name
(Pdb) p value
msg357434 - (view) Author: Leif Middelschulte (Leif Middelschulte) Date: 2019-11-25 09:17
For the sake of completeness, the content of `/tmp/`:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from shutil import copy2

copy2('/tmp/some_file', '/relabel_bug/failure')
msg357636 - (view) Author: Leif Middelschulte (Leif Middelschulte) Date: 2019-11-29 09:18
@Christian Heimes: is there anything else you need from me? Is this the wrong forum?

As discussed in the referenced GitHub issue, some SELinux people suggest it might be a fault in how Python determines (?) it's running within a container environment and how to act upon it.

Does it determine it at all? Does it use libselinux[0]?

Background: I came across this issue by building a Linux distribution using Yocto in a Fedora:30 podman managed container with host volumes bound in. I guess that it is a fairly common scenario in the near future.

msg364011 - (view) Author: Christian Heimes (christian.heimes) * (Python committer) Date: 2020-03-12 11:45
No, CPython's stdlib doesn't use libselinux.

I talked to an engineer from Red Hat's SELinux team today. SELinux returns EACCES for policy violations like in this case. The _copyxattr() helper function ignores EPERM but not EACCES. You are seeing a PermissionError exception because Python maps both EPERM and EACCES to PermissionError.

As first fix the _copyxattr() helper could ignore all permission errors for "security.*" namespace and just continue. This will get rid of the error but may still cause lots of AVC audit events.

A better but backwards incompatible approach is to handle the xattr namespaces differently. Linux defines four xattr namespaces: security, system, trusted, and user. The security namespace is used by security policies like Smack or SELinux. IMHO _copyxattr() should only copy user xattrs by default. The security namespace should only be copied when the caller opts-in. The cp tool has separate preserve settings for context (SELinux security context) and xattr (other extended attributes).
msg373451 - (view) Author: Christian Heimes (christian.heimes) * (Python committer) Date: 2020-07-10 08:21
The issue came up at $WORK now. Core utils like copy command ignore "security.selinux" xattr unless the user explicitly asks to preserve the security context, see

_copyxattr() ignores most errnos that are listed in the man page of setxattr(2) but not EACCES. The man page of setxattr(2) also points to stat(2) which lists EACCES as possible errno.

I see three simple and two more complicated solutions:

1) ignore EACCES completely
2) ignore EACCES for "security.selinux"
3) ignore EACCES for "security.*"
4) provide a callback similar to the check() callback in libattr's attr_copy_fd(). Only copy an xattr when the callback is not set or returns True.
5) provide an extra option to skip security context

Related: also suggests that copyxattr should ignore ENOSYS in listxattr. Some file systems (NFS?) seem to lack xattr.

Hynek, you implemented most of copyxattr in 0beab058dd4 back in 2013. What's your opinion?
msg378031 - (view) Author: Enrico Scholz (ensc2) Date: 2020-10-05 14:28
IMO the SELinux security attributes must not be copied (except when requested explicitly).  Doing so will create badly labeled systems else.  It would be better to use default transition rules and call optionally selinux_restorecon() then.

E.g. when copying selinux.* attributes, after "cp /tmp/foo /bin/" the resulting "/bin/foo" would have a "tmp_t" label (which is wrong).

Without copying attributes, it would be labeled as "bin_t" (which is more realistic).

When there are SELinux rules for "/bin/foo", it might be relabeled e.g. to "bin_foo_t" by the manual selinux_restorecon().

Ignoring errors silently will make operations very unpredictable.
msg382794 - (view) Author: Christian Heimes (christian.heimes) * (Python committer) Date: 2020-12-09 15:30
I have created a new PR that introduces preserve_security_context argument and changes the default behavior of copy operations. All copy operations behave now similar to "cp -p --preserve=xattr" by default. copy2(src, dst, preserve_security_context=True) restores the old, problematic behavior that is similar to "cp -p --preserve=xattr,context".

It's not completely equivalent because I decided to omit all attributes in the restricted "security" xattr namespace. coreutils only handles "security.selinux" on an SELinux enabled system differently.
Date User Action Args
2022-04-11 14:59:23adminsetgithub: 83074
2020-12-09 15:30:04christian.heimessetmessages: + msg382794
2020-12-09 15:23:49christian.heimessetpull_requests: + pull_request22580
2020-10-05 14:28:37ensc2setnosy: + ensc2
messages: + msg378031
2020-07-10 09:09:51christian.heimessetkeywords: + patch
stage: patch review
pull_requests: + pull_request20577
2020-07-10 08:35:35christian.heimeslinkissue26328 superseder
2020-07-10 08:22:12christian.heimessetassignee: christian.heimes
versions: + Python 3.10, - Python 3.7
2020-07-10 08:21:49christian.heimessetnosy: + hynek
messages: + msg373451
2020-07-10 07:38:58christian.heimeslinkissue24163 superseder
2020-03-12 11:45:19christian.heimessetmessages: + msg364011
2019-11-29 09:18:21Leif Middelschultesetmessages: + msg357636
2019-11-25 09:17:27Leif Middelschultesetmessages: + msg357434
2019-11-25 09:13:45Leif Middelschultesetmessages: + msg357433
2019-11-22 07:53:55christian.heimessetnosy: + christian.heimes

messages: + msg357250
versions: - Python 3.6
2019-11-22 07:37:25Leif Middelschultecreate