Fwd: MRE request: virtualbox

Tyler Hicks tyhicks at canonical.com
Thu Oct 29 19:44:00 UTC 2015

I looked back through the logs and we did give an ACK:

  01-09-2015 07:33:34 <mdeslaur> LocutusOfBorg1: I think a MRE for VirtualBox makes sense
  01-09-2015 07:33:42 <mdeslaur> LocutusOfBorg1: so ACK from the security team

That said, I just learned that asking the Tech Board for an MRE is no
longer needed if the SRU team decides that a number of conditions are


If the update fixes security issues, it'll need to go through the
security sponsoring process instead of the SRU process. The security
sponsoring process is documented here:


Hope that helps!


On 2015-10-29 19:03:55, Gianfranco Costamagna wrote:
> Hi again folks, I forgot to mention.
> Some weeks ago (september or october), I asked the same in
> #ubuntu-hardened irc channel, because I guess this is mainly a
> security problem.
> I got an ack from them on irc, but unfortunately (bad me) I discovered
> that irclogs [1] doesn't save -hardened irc conversations.
> So I'm ccing the security team again, because I guess (and I hope)
> they should give their input on this matter too :)
> [1] http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2015/10/29/
> thanks,
> G.
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: MRE request: virtualbox
> Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 18:50:22 +0100
> From: Gianfranco Costamagna <costamagnagianfranco at yahoo.it>
> To: technical-board at lists.ubuntu.com
> I would like to apply for a micro release exception for Virtualbox
> Upstream:
>   - Micro releases happen from low-volume stable branches,
>     approximately once every two months.
>   - Stable branches are supported with bug fixes for some years
> (normally 5 years + 6 months or more).
>   - Upstream commits are reviewed by members of the Virtualbox Server
>     Engineering team.
>   - All commits to stable branches are evaluated wrt. potential
>     regressions and signed off by the Virtualbox team.
>   - Unit tests and regression tests are run on multiple platforms per
>     push to the source code repository. In addition, there are more
>     extensive test suites run daily and weekly.
>   - Each micro release receives extensive testing between code freeze
>     and release. This includes the full functional test suite,
>     performance regression testing, load and stress testing and
>     compatibility and upgrade testing from previous micro and
>     minor/major releases.
>   - Tests are run on all supported platforms (currently amd64 and i386).
> Upstream update policy (from upstream developers, not from Oracle compan
> y)
> For VBox 4.x, the support period was 5 years. As VBox 4.0 was released
> in December 2010, the official support for VBox 4.x (including 4.3)
> will end in December 2015. For VBox 4.3 we will probably extend the
> period for a few month. With VBox 5.x, the support period is still 5
> years but once VBox 5.1.x is released, users have to switch from 5.0
> to 5.1 within a certain period. There will be a grace period of
> approx. 6 month but after that,
> There will be no further updates for 5.0.x. So within the 5 years it
> will happen that 5.1.x replaces 5.0.x at some time and there will be
> no further updates to 5.0 when 5.1.0 is released + approx 6 months.
> Btw, disclaimer: This is not an official Oracle statement (I'm not
> allowed to do that) but you can take these statements serious.
> In Debian/Ubuntu:
>   - Upstream generally refuses to give CVE targeted fixes [1], so this
> leaves virtualbox in stable releases generally vulnerable, e.g. to
> CVE-2015-2594
>   [1]
> http://www.oracle.com/us/support/assurance/vulnerability-remediation/dis
> closure/index.html
> - Usually newer kernels means a bad experience for users, since the
> kernel drivers are rebuilt at each kernel update, and leads to
> failures like [2] and [3]
> [2] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/virtualbox/+bug/1457776
> [3] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/virtualbox/+bug/1457780
> This is actually mitigated since Vivid releases, because of:
>   * Re-work the packaging to account for the kernel modules being
> shipped in
>     the master kernel packages, removing the need for dkms (LP: #1434579
> ):
>     - Make the dkms package provide a virtual package matching what the
>       kernel packages provide to indicate that they ship the dkms module
> s.
>     - Add an alternate dep from the utils package to the virtual driver.
>     - Make the x11 driver package associate with the VGA controller
>  -- Adam Conrad <adconrad at ubuntu.com>   Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:01:25 +0100
> so actually having that change will make the problem disappear when an
> official -lts kernel is used, and updating vbox will make the problem
> disappear also for custom kernels
> (unless they are RC kernels, of course)
> Additional notes by Gianfranco Costamagna (Debian Developer and
> Virtualbox Maintainer)
> as stated in Debian bug 794466 I will (ask for) upload in security
> pockets the new micro releases, and wait for feedbacks (on top of the
> testing I do locally at each upload, including creating a clean target
> environment, doing upgrade testing and checking if VM still starts
> correctly).
> After that I will do the same testing for Ubuntu supported releases,
> and actively monitor bugs for regression that I'll try to promptly fix
> whenever a regression is found.
> AFAICS I have never saw a regression in my yearly vbox maintenance on
> micro releases, but in case I'm sure upstream will help us in fixing
> them, because they actively monitor for regressions and bugs on all
> the tracker they have (including vbox-dev mail list and vbox forum,
> other than the ticket system)
> Debian already accepted my request of targeted MRE fixes, so we have a
> CVE-free virtualbox in jessie/wheezy/ oldstable (partially, because
> the support of virtualbox-ose has ended this year).
> Another MRE for Debian is ongoing right now (4.3.32 and 4.1.42) with
> fixes for CVE-2015-4896 and CVE-2015-4813
> thanks a lot for considering,
> Gianfranco Costamagna <locutusofborg at debian.org>
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