swbis -- Distributed Software Administration


       swbis <sw_utility> [options] [software_selections] [@targets]
       <sw_utility> [options] [software_selections] [@targets]


       swbis is a network transparent software administration system for
       GNU/Linux systems and systems that are UNIX system-like. It implements
       the Open Group's CAE Spec C701 (XDSA) Distributed Software
       Administration.  This spec closely follows ISO/IEC 15068-2:1999 (now
       withdrawn) which was identical to IEEE 1387.2:1995.  The implementation
       relies on POSIX functionality as provided by a typical GNU system.  It
       has security enhancement extensions that use GNU Privacy Guard.
       Although swpackage is a self-contained tar writing utility and
       swinstall will use generic tar for file loading, several features are
       based on bit-for-bit sameness with the GNU tar POSIX tar interchange
       format, hence, GNU tar is a special tool requirement for swbis.


       The  selection@target syntax supports multiple selections and targets.
       The same selection spec applies to all the targets.  A single
       'Commercial at' '@' separates the two lists.  Software selections apply
       within a single distribution tarball or within a single directory
       representing installed  software.  Software selections don't specify a
       source file.  The source file is specified by a separate option for
       utilites that use the  target as a destination, and by the target if
       the source is the destination.

   Software Selections
       Software Selections specify, by a software_spec, objects which to
       operate.  A software_spec consists of a period '.' delimited list of
       tags followed by a comma and a comma delimited list of version
       identifiers for revision, qualifier, vendor_tag, architecture,
       location, denoted by the letters r,q,v,a,l.

       The important tags of familiar repute are product.tag and
       product.revision along with an optional product.vendor_tag.  These
       attributes.  These are specified in a software_selection by example

          # Note: Quotes are needed to prevent command-line interpretation
          "*"                        # all packages
          r==3.1                     # Any package with revision 3.1
          somepackage                # all packages named 'somepackage'
          somepackage,r">"2          # and revision greater than 2
          somepackage,r">"2,r"<"3    # and revision greater than 2 and less than 3
          somepackage,r">"2,v=hal    # and by vendor 'hal'

        Logical alternation or 'OR' is supported by using a second
       software_spec on the command line. software_specs are separated by

       Targets are hosts or files on a host.  The syntax follows the familiar
       host:file convention but differs in that an unadorned name is a host
       not a file.  To impose interpretation as a file prefix with a colon ':'
       or use an absolute path (i.e. prefix with '/').

       Source and Target Specification and Logic

                      /path  # Absolute path

                 Swbis Extension:

                 Swbis Multi-hop Target Extension:
                      # ':' is the target delimiter
                   # '_' delimits a port number in the host field


                      # Using ':', a trailing colon is used to
                      # disambiguate between a host and file.
                   # For Example,

            A more formal description:

                   | HOST_CHARACTER_STRING ':'
                   | HOST_CHARACTER_STRING
                   | PATHNAME_CHARACTER_STRING
                   | ':' PATHNAME_CHARACTER_STRING   # Impl extension

              PATHNAME_CHARACTER_STRING must be an absolute path unless
                              a HOST_CHARACTER_STRING is given.  Allowing
                              a relative path is a feature of the swbis

                       NOTE: A '.' as a target is an implementation
                             extension and means extract in current

                       NOTE: A '-' indicating stdout/stdin is an
                             implementation extension.

                       NOTE: A ':' in the first character indicates a filename.
                             This is an implementation extension.

              HOST_CHARACTER_STRING is an IP or hostname.

              Copy the  distribution /var/tmp/foo.tar.gz at
                     swcopy -s /var/tmp/foo.tar.gz @

       Implementation Extension Syntax (multi ssh-hop) :
           %start   wtarget    # the Implementation Extension Target
                               # Note: a trailing ':' forces interpretation
                               # as a host, not a file.
           wtarget   : wtarget DELIM sshtarget
                     | sshtarget
                     | sshtarget DELIM
           sshtarget : user '@' target # Note: only the last target
                     | target          # may have a PATHNAME, and only a host
                     ;                 * may have a user
           target   : HOST_CHARACTER_STRING
                    | PATHNAME_CHARACTER_STRING
           user     : PORTABLE_CHARACTER_STRING  # The user name

           DELIM    : ':'   # The multi-hop delimiter.


       Unpack a tarball on host1 and host2:

          swcopy -s :somepackage-1.0.tar.gz --extract @ host1 host2

       List installed entries matching the software selections:

          swlist somepackage,"r>2" @ host1:/ host2:/
          swlist "kde*" @

       List the architectures of the specified hosts:

          swlist -x verbose=3 -a architecture @ localhost host1 host2

       Install a package from stdin to a location, l=/unionfs/foo-1.0, and a
       "exp" qualification:

           swinstall q=exp,l=/unionfs/foo-1.0 @

       Remove a package named somepackage

           swremove somepackage @

       Make a tarball according to the recipe file myPSF:

           swpackage -s myPSF @- | tar tvf -


   POSIX Commands
       Utilities specified by C701 and ISO/IEC 15068-2:1999 include the

          *  swpackage(8)

                 Create a tarball according to a recipe file.

          *  swcopy(8)

                 Copy a distribution from host to host.

          *  swverify(8)

                 Verify a software distribution signature.

          *  swinstall(8)

                 Install a software distribution.

          *  swlist(8)

                 List software information.

          *  swremove(8)

                 Remove packages

   Swbis Specific Commands
       Utilities unique to swbis.

          *  swign(1)

                 Create the signed meta-data directory, catalog/, of the
                 contents of the current directory and optionally write the
                 entire directory, including the signed catalog as a tar

          *  <libexecdir>/swbis/swbistar

                 Archive writing (creation) utility, useful for testing.

          *  <libexecdir>/swbis/swbisparse

                 Stand-alone parser of POSIX Metadata files, useful for

          *  <libexecdir>/swbis/arf2arf

                 Archive decoder/checker, Used by swverify.

          *  <libexecdir>/swbis/lxpsf

                 Archive translator, used by swpackage to translate RPM


   Configuration Files
       All of the utilities share the same configuration files: swdefaults and
       swbisdefaults.  The files are sourced on the local management host and
       ignored (if present) on the remote target host. Below are commands that
       give information about them.  All the utilities support these options
       and the defaults are separate for each utility, swcopy is shown as an

        swcopy --show-options-files  # Show locations of existing files to stdout
        swcopy --show-options     # Show options with a shell assignment syntax
        swcopy --no-defaults --show-options  # Show builtin defaults

       The syntax is:

        # Comment
        # Here optionName applies to all utilities
        # the whitespace around the '=' is optional
        optionName = value # Comment

        # In addition a option can be applied to a specific utility
        # overriding the general one and the built-in default
        swutilityName.optionName = value

   Strategy for Compatibility with Existing Hosts
       The most important utiltities on which swbis relies is a POSIX shell,
       the system /bin/sh, and the system tar utility, usually /bin/tar.  The
       POSIX shell need not be /bin/sh.

       The POSIX shell must have specific compliance to POSIX described the
       POSIX sh(1) manual page (IEEE Std 1003.1, 2004 Edition, Section STDIN)
       regarding its use of stdin when it invokes a command that also uses
       stdin.  GNU Bash, public-domain ksh (pdksh), OpenSolaris
       /usr/xpg4/bin/sh,  ATT ksh (latest version such as 93t+ 2010-03-05)
       have this feature.  Other shells including ash, dash, and /bin/sh on
       BSD, UNIX(tm), BusyBox systems do not.

       Therefore, the most reliable and least intrusive strategy is use the
       auto-detection option.  If a host does not contain bash or a suitable
       ksh or sh the distributed utility will fail.

       swbis_no_getconf               = true # true or false, false=use getconf
       swbis_shell_command            = detect # {detect|sh|bash|posix|ksh}

        Alternatively, simply make /bin/bash a requirement on all hosts and

       swbis_no_getconf               = true # true or false, false=use getconf
       swbis_shell_command            = bash # {detect|sh|bash|posix|ksh}

       NOTE: The shell requirement does not apply to the user's account shell
       (specified in /etc/passwd), although there are reasons this shell
       should be a Bourne compatible shell.  See Acount Login Shell below

       Regarding tar, it is used for file loading (installation) and also
       during verfication of installed software (as a means to copy and
       inspect the installed files state).  For installation, any tar will
       work as no non-traditional options are specified.

       The configuration options, in swbisdefaults allow some flexibilty here

       swbis_local_pax_write_command  = tar  # {pax|tar|star|gtar}
       swbis_remote_pax_write_command = tar  # {pax|tar|star|gtar}
       swbis_local_pax_read_command   = tar  # {pax|tar|star|gtar}
       swbis_remote_pax_read_command  = tar  # {pax|tar|star|gtar}

       swverify.swbis_local_pax_write_command   = detect # {pax|tar|star|gtar}
       swverify.swbis_remote_pax_write_command  = detect # {pax|tar|star|gtar}
       swlist.swbis_local_pax_write_command   =   detect  # {pax|tar|star|gtar}
       swlist.swbis_remote_pax_write_command  =   detect  # {pax|tar|star|gtar}

       This allows keeping and using the system '/bin/tar', and only using GNU
       tar or pax for verification and listing.

       Other important options are:

       swcopy.swbis_allow_rpm       = true  # Enable automatic translation
       swinstall.swbis_allow_rpm    = true  # Enable automatic translation
       swcopy.swbis_no_audit        = true  # Copy as arbitrary data, true or false
       swbis_remote_shell_client    = ssh   # {ssh|rsh}
       swbis_forward_agent          = true  # Set ssh -A for multi-hop (>1) jumps

        Here is a incomplete explanation of each option

          *  Extended Option: swbis_local_pax_read_command
             Extended Option: swbis_remote_pax_read_command

                 If installing on a system, any tar will work.  GNU tar is
                 required when using swign to create a signed archive or
                 directory.  If pax is selected as the archive read command
                 (for installing), errors will be returned if the installation
                 is not by a root user (or if not root, if the package
                 contained files with different ownerships than the current

       swbis_local_pax_read_command = tar #{pax|tar|gtar}
       swbis_remote_pax_read_command= tar #{pax|tar|gtar}

          *  Extended Option: swbis_local_pax_write_command
             Extended Option: swbis_remote_pax_write_command

                 swcopy and swinstall may use the system tar (which may not be
                 GNU tar or pax).  swpackage is self-contained and does not
                 use any file system tar-like utility.  swign does not read
                 the options files and assumes and requires that tar is GNU
                 tar.  swlist and swverify requires either GNU tar or pax and
                 can be set to detect a suitable tar or pax.

       swlist.swbis_local_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swlist.swbis_remote_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swverify.swbis_local_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swverify.swbis_remote_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swbis_local_pax_write_command = tar #{pax|tar|gtar}
       swbis_remote_pax_write_command= tar #{pax|tar|gtar}

          *  Extended Option: swbis_shell_command

                 This may be one of detect, bash, ksh, sh, or posix.  detect
                 is the best choice.  ksh must be public domain ksh or ATT
                 ksh93 (version 2009-05-05 or newer). Older versions of ksh93
                 do not have the required POSIX feature.

          *  Account Login Shell

                 The login shell may be any shell, however, if a host will
                 ever be a intermediate host in a multi-hop target, then it
                 should be a Bourne compatible or POSIX conforming shell.
                 This requirement is due to the escapement and processing of
                 shell special characters which are performed by the login
                 shell of the intermediate host account.

          *  Extended Option: swbis_forward_agent

                 The default value is True.  This sets the -A in the ssh
                 client for multi-hop targets.  There are security
                 considerations when forwarding the authentication agent.


       The swbis distributed utilties have no special requirements and will
       operate on any full-size OpenSolaris, BSD or GNU/Linux host.  You may
       immediately and remotely distribute and manage packages on these hosts
       with nothing more than a login account and a ssh connection.  Below are
       the technical details.  The configuration file options to allow this
       are the built-in defaults,  certain values in historic versions of the
       defaults file, swbisdefaults, may break this functionality.

       The swbis distributed utilities require bash, public domain ksh, or
       Sun's /usr/xpg4/bin/sh to be present on the target host.  If the
       swbis_shell_command extended option is set to 'detect' you don't have
       to know which one is present, otherwise you may specify one explicitly.

       swbis_shell_command=detect #{posix|sh|bash|ksh|detect}

       Tar or pax is used for file loading (installation) and internally for
       data transfer.  You may specify which one.  swlist and swverify require
       either GNU tar or pax be present on a host.  You may set auto detection
       for this requirement.

       swlist.swbis_local_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swlist.swbis_remote_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swverify.swbis_local_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swverify.swbis_remote_pax_write_command=detect #{pax|tar|gtar|detect}
       swinstall.swbis_local_pax_write_command = tar #{pax|tar|gtar}
       swinstall.swbis_remote_pax_write_command= tar #{pax|tar|gtar}
       swinstall.swbis_local_pax_read_command  = tar #{pax|tar|gtar}
       swinstall.swbis_remote_pax_read_command = tar #{pax|tar|gtar}

       A POSIX awk is required, and with the ability to specify several
       thousand bytes of program text as a command argument.  GNU awk  works,
       as does the ATT Awk book awk, and the awk on BSD systems.  See the
       INSTALL file for further details regarding a small issue with the
       OpenSolaris (c.2006) awk.

       GNU Privacy Guard, gpg is required for verification and  signing.  Use
       of the passphrase agent gpg-agent is supported so as to avoid telling
       swpackage your passphrase.  When swverify uses gpg, a FIFO  is
       constructed and deleted.  /dev/null and /dev/zero are required.
       Verification takes place on the management host. It would not be used
       on the (remote) target host.

       For verifying package tarballs, only swverify and gpg is required.  For
       verifying the unpacked tarball (i.e. as a signed directory) GNU  tar,
       awk,  sha1sum,  md5sum  (or  openssl)  and  various other utilities are

       When a host is participating in remote connections via ssh/rsh, either
       as the terminal target host or intermediate host, the login shell for
       the user must be a Bourne compatible shell, for example /bin/sh.  Most
       traditional Bourne shell's are acceptable as /bin/sh, one notable
       exception is /bin/ash when operating on the terminal host (due to its
       read block size).  However, /bin/dash, BSD /bin/sh, and Sun's /bin/sh
       are all acceptable.  Note that /bin/sh need not be the system POSIX

       As stated above, a POSIX shell is required and the only suitable
       implementations (as of Sep 2010) are /bin/bash, /bin/ksh (Public Domain
       or ksh93 v.2009-05-05 or newer), Sun's /usr/xpg4/bin/sh, and MirBSD
       Korn Shell (/bin/mksh) all assumed to be in these locations.


       The spec describes a format for storing package meta-data in a software
       distribution and a set of utilities.  The meta-data is stored in-band
       for format level compatibility.  The meta-data is separated by
       placement in a specially named directory, catalog/.  The spec goes
       further and describes how multiple products, for example a distribution
       archive containing products for multiple architectures, can be placed
       in a separate control directories within the distribution archive.
       This is supported along with an extension to allow these directories to
       be nil collapsing the layout into the familiar form of a free software
       tarball or run-time distribution directly installable by tar.  When the
       collapsed form is used, the in-band catalog/ directory is next to (in
       the same directory as) the payload files hence "catalog" becomes a
       reserved word for package files.

       While the swbis system has features comparable with package managers,
       it has features that are of general purpose usefulness to system
       administrators and developers.  These include host-to-host copying of
       file system directories, advanced tarball creation methods, backward
       compatibility with uses of plain tarballs, and the capability to act as
       a directory content integrity checker, and the ability to translate and
       install RPM format packages.

   Distributed Software Administration
       The XDSA spec describes a syntax for distributed operations, but does
       not specify any implementation approach to the problem of remote
       command invocation.  The approach taken by swbis is to require nothing
       that is not already present on all POSIX systems. To that end, swbis
       uses rsh (or ssh) for remote connections and uses bash (A POSIX shell)
       for command processing specifically using the 'bash -s' invocation for
       all operations.  Using bash in this manner casts all swbis utilties as
       programs that dynamically write and deliver shell program code to the
       remote 'bash -s' through its standard input, which can be a secure ssh
       channel.  This eliminates the requirement that swbis be installed on
       the remote target host.

   A Directory Content Checker
       The swign program creates the catalog/ directory which is, in effect, a
       GPG signed manifest of the directory.  GNU tar is then used to recreate
       the signed and digest  byte  streams  from the directory contents which
       are never removed nor altered (except for the creation of catalog/). It
       is able to do so because swpackage, which generated the original byte
       streams,  matches GNU tar's output bit-for-bit. For example:

          swign  -D /usr/local/bin/checkdigest.sh  -o "" -g ""  -u  "Test User" @.
          swverify --order-catalog -d @.
                 # If your file system is Ext2, then --order-catalog
                 # is not required.

       The  checkdigest.sh is a distributor specific shell script that is run
       by swverify if it is present and part of the signed  stream.
       checkdigest.sh then checks the archive MD5 and SHA1.  If this fails, it
       checks the individual files'  MD5 and SHA1 digests.  [In current
       versions of checkdigest,  the ownerships and permissions are not
       checked individually, as swign was originally intended as a source
       directory/archive signer tool.]

       Use as a SCM (e.g. CVS, svn. etc) security tool easily follows by
       making catalog/ a tracked directory in the SCM.  The catalog directory
       is updated using the swign command.

            export SWPACKAGEPASSFD
            export GNUPGNAME
            GNUPGNAME="Your Name"
            swign --name-version=somepackage-1.1 -s PSF.in --no-remove @.

        See the swign manual page for an example PSF.in file.

   Package Security
       As implementation extensions, swbis supports creation and verification
       of tar archives with embedded digital signatures, and cryptographic
       digests of the archive (payload) and individual files.  The design
       supports multiple signatures (each signing an identical byte stream)
       and offers full package life-cycle relevance, that is, the signature
       and the signed bytes are transferred into the installed catalog.

       The distribution form is extensible at the format and layout levels.
       Additional distributor specific attributes (i.e. keywords) are allowed
       in the meta-data files, and distributor specific control files are
       allowed in the meta-data directory file layout.  The security files are
       implemented as control files.  This allows adding new stronger
       cryptograpic digests in the file layout while preserving back
       compatibility.  The format, POSIX tar, is extensible by adoption of the
       Extended Header Format specified in later POSIX revisions.

   Support for Unprivileged Users
       Support for unprivileged users is treated as a requirement.  swpackage
       does not use a central repository and makes no copies of the source
       files.  The utilities support alternate target paths and all activity
       is confined within the target path.  swinstall supports the location
       attribute which locates the installed files in target path but uses the
       installed software catalog at the un-located target path.  Access to
       the installed software catalog can be controlled via the catalog
       directory sticky bit per local administrative policy.


       Swbis is a copyrighted work.  Non-copyright holders may use and make
       copies under the terms of the GNU GPL


       Swbis is a concatenation of the command name prefix 'sw' with the
       Italian suffix 'bis' meaning again, or one more time.

           Pronunciation: /es dub-u bis/
                         sw - bis
            POSIX packaging - Play it again, One more time


       IEEE Std 1387.2-1995 (ISO/IEC 15068-2:1999),
       Open Group CAE C701,


        info swbis
        sw(5), swpackage(8), swbisparse(1), swign(1), swverify(8), swcopy(8)
        swbis(1), swconfig(8), swlist(8), swremove(8)


       /var/lib/swbis/catalog/  # The installed software catalog
       catalog/  # The package meta-data directory
       swdefaults     # Options configuration file
       swbisdefaults  # Options configuration file


        Author: Jim Lowe   Email: jhlowe at acm.org
        Version: 1.6
        Last Updated: 2008-04-18
        Copying: GNU Free Documentation License


       Not everything is implemented yet.