Sunday, April 10, 2016

DitL: writing about files, of all things

Have a Day in the Life post, written on a Sunday night, after a lovely Spring afternoon spent with a text editor. Gack. That is just wrong.

Writing. 121 lines, 965 words, 5836 bytes, and all about writing files of all things. It really did take all afternoon, for not very much usable output. Some days just go like that. I mostly discovered what I should have been writing, which is a piece in three (four?) parts.

  1. How badly file creation is currently being done
  2. That interstitial bit between writing and reading, which leads to exploitable race conditions
  3. Reading is not so much a problem as parsing, which has been a gold mine of exploits over the years
  4. Possibly a lead-in bit, which I am attempting to dodge by posting this
An additional problem is how to present the material, as an introduction to the subject, without it being an off-putting wall of text. For instance, introducing hexdump to beginners, as well as a few programs in core-utils, all in text, turns out to be non-trivial. This stuff is a lot easier when you can just get in front of a whiteboard in scribble-yack-enjoy mode. 

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