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bug#36785: Impossible to pull on foreign distro

From: Gábor Boskovits
Subject: bug#36785: Impossible to pull on foreign distro
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 01:33:40 +0200

Hello Ludo,

Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> ezt írta (időpont: 2019. szept. 18., Sze, 0:04):

Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> skribis:

> Indeed.  I added ‘pk’ calls to print ‘%profile-directory’ and
> (canonicalize-profile %user-profile-directory), and here’s what I see
> with ‘sudo’:
> $ sudo -E ./pre-inst-env guix pull
> ;;; (pd "/var/guix/profiles/per-user/root")
> ;;; (upd "/home/ludo/.config/guix/current")

I used ‘-E’ above, which is why HOME was ~ludo instead of ~root.
Without ‘-E’, HOME is ~root as expected, and so “sudo guix pull” does
the right thing (this is on Guix System):

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
$ sudo guix repl
GNU Guile 2.2.4
Copyright (C) 1995-2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Guile comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `,show w'.
This program is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; type `,show c' for details.

Enter `,help' for help.
scheme@(guix-user)> (getenv "HOME")
$1 = "/root"
scheme@(guix-user)> ,m(guix scripts pull)
scheme@(guix scripts pull)> %profile-directory
$2 = "/var/guix/profiles/per-user/root"
scheme@(guix scripts pull)> %user-profile-directory
$3 = "/root/.config/guix/current"
scheme@(guix scripts pull)> (cache-directory)
$4 = "/root/.cache/guix"
scheme@(guix scripts pull)> (config-directory)
$5 = "/root/.config/guix"
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

So ‘sudo guix pull’ really updates root’s profile and writes to
~root/.cache, everything is fine.


I investigated a bit, tried Debian, then Ubuntu, and found that ‘sudo’
on Ubuntu behaves differently: it preserves ‘HOME’ by default:

  $ sudo env | grep HOME

This is written here:


(That’s with sudo 1.8.21p2, FWIW.)

Ubuntu’s /etc/sudoers doesn’t have anything special.  Actually, Debian
has (almost) the same /etc/sudoers and yet it does not preserve HOME.

(Time passes…)

Digging further, I fetched the source from
<https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/sudo>, and boom! I found the
culprit: it’s called ‘debian/patches/keep_home_by_default.patch’.

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
Description: Set HOME in initial_keepenv_table
 Set HOME in initial_keepenv_table; without this, $HOME will never be
 preserved unless added to keep_env.  There's appropriate logic to handle
 resetting the home for -H and -i options, so this is the only part that's
Author: Steve Langasek <address@hidden>
--- a/plugins/sudoers/env.c
+++ b/plugins/sudoers/env.c
@@ -189,6 +189,7 @@
+    "HOME",
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

(This patch is playing with fire IMO.  If you’re an Ubuntu user,
consider reporting a bug!)

But anyway, what can we do?

We could ignore the issue, it’s-Ubuntu’s-fault, done.

We could also add some logic to detect whether (1) we’re running under
sudo, and in that case, and whether (2) $HOME matches $USER’s home
directory as it appears in /etc/passwd.  If both conditions are
satisfied, we could ignore $HOME and use the home directory from
/etc/passwd instead.

But… that’s complicated, and it’d break uses of ‘sudo -H’.

We could apply the patch I posted earlier, which simply disables profile
migration when SUDO_USER is set.  That won’t address the fact that root
writes to the user’s ~/.cache, but there’s not much we can do here.


We could simply document a proper sudo invocation for updating root's guix, that
always works. Wdyt?

We could provide it simply as a hint if it fails.


Best regards,
OpenPGP Key Fingerprint: 7988:3B9F:7D6A:4DBF:3719:0367:2506:A96C:CF63:0B21

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