[foaf-protocols] Fwd: [Freedombox-discuss] WebID

peter williams home_pw at msn.com
Mon Mar 7 19:40:42 CET 2011

So what Im hearing (through a noise level about debian etc ...that is beyond
me) is that there is a standard perl library that will take a cert and do
the webid validation agent steps.

For all it matters, I could have a test script in perl, that simply presents
any client cert to that library, for validation.  The cert under test
doesn’t HAVE to come from a CGI context, or https delivery,

If this is true, then presumably it works on a windows perl installation as
any other, being just perl.

What Im also hearing, now relevant to debian, is that the cryptopolitics
components of the webid design is what drove the implementation.

Revocation is best handled by "double" validation. Imagine that having don’t
VA process #1 using perl, the VA now asks Kingley's server for a second
opinion. Kingley's server can be viewed as revocation server - that
"qualifies" the validation of round #1. Only if 2 supporting channels
support the original assertion is it inter-subjectively valid. If one
extends this further, only if n supporting channels support the assertion
(where the channels recommendations are mashed up using the GNU PGP trust
albegra) is it valid.

The trick for the packager is now to ensure that, like wintrust in windows,
one can call back several different trust providers, from simple, to double,
to complex (GNU PGP). Ideally, which one is used would be driven using the
AppPolicies extension in the client cert (if present), overidable by the VA

-----Original Message-----
From: foaf-protocols-bounces at lists.foaf-project.org
[mailto:foaf-protocols-bounces at lists.foaf-project.org] On Behalf Of Melvin
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2011 10:56 AM
To: foaf-protocols at lists.foaf-project.org; WebID XG; Inkster Toby
Subject: [foaf-protocols] Fwd: [Freedombox-discuss] WebID


WebID + perl implementation in debian

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jonas Smedegaard <dr at jones.dk>
Date: 6 March 2011 19:27
Subject: [Freedombox-discuss] WebID
To: freedombox-discuss at lists.alioth.debian.org

On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 07:51:07PM +0100, Melvin Carvalho wrote:
> On 1 March 2011 19:34, Jonas Smedegaard <dr at jones.dk> wrote:
>> On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 07:04:53PM +0100, Melvin Carvalho wrote:
>>> On 1 March 2011 18:44, Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at fifthhorseman.net>
>>>> On 03/01/2011 12:33 PM, Melvin Carvalho wrote:
>>>>> But actually there is a way in the case of the Freedom Box, because
you have the advantage of controlling your own server.
>>>>> Since you are already running a webserver and (hopefully) have control
of your DNS.
>>>>> You can provide a two-way verification chain.
>>>>> 1. Your Person Profile publishes your public key.  (this is a few 
>>>>> lines of html5, should be easy) 2. Point your self-signed X.509 to
your Freedom Box profile.  This can be done by putting an entry in the
SubjectAltName field of the cert, a common technique.
>>>>> This provides strong verification for all the X.509 tool chain and
means you can talk security to any server using SSL/TLS which is most of
them, providing strong authentication as a side product.
>>>> This doesn't provide an adequate means of revocation, though.  If an
attacker gets control over your key, and is able to repoint DNS, then you
cannot publish any revocation statement about this key through this channel.
>>> If an attacker does gain these two points of control, and they knew what
they were doing, you could have an issue yes.
>>> We need to scope out a revocation model, but I dont think it's that
hard.  May already be something existing, I'll have a check.
>> Without plauing with it yet myself, I blindly assumed Monkeysphere was
usable for exactly this: use GPG web of trust to assure certificates.
>>>> These two points are what i meant when i said that this model has "no
way of verifying/revoking these keys".
>>>> I'm sure you could graft something like this onto <X.509+your scheme
above>; but OpenPGP already exists and handles these cases pretty well.  Why
reinvent the wheel?
>>> Because X.509 is quite webby, and the web is the dominant ecosystem on
the internet.
>> more specifically: TLS allows for RESTful secure identity handling -
which helps save bandwidth as is is friendly to proxies and other caching.
>> http://www.w3.org/wiki/WebID
> Yes, exactly.
> There's a group that has now moved this a step closer to standardization
with the a W3C Web Consortium Incubator Group.
> http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/webid/charter
> I know revocation has been raised as a topic.  I normally listen in on the
telecons, so I can report back on this topic, and any others people with to


On a related note, I now (after fighting intensely with it for 3 days,
producing the needed 27 Debian packages) I have now packaged
libcgi-auth-foaf-ssl-perl which is a Perl implementation of WebID.

The work is now pending approval into Debian, and is also available using
the following APT line:

 deb http://debian.jones.dk/ sid freedombox

I would appreciate any and all comments on these packages (and also do tell
me if you are interested in the field of RDF using Perl and need other
libraries packaged!).

- Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private

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