Re: [TLS] Deployment ... Re: This working group has failed

Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> Tue, 19 November 2013 09:38 UTC

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Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:38:11 +0000
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From: Ben Laurie <benl@google.com>
To: Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com>
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Subject: Re: [TLS] Deployment ... Re: This working group has failed
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On 18 November 2013 16:34, Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 7:02 AM, Salz, Rich <rsalz@akamai.com> wrote:
>>> TLS 1.2 solves the same problem as TLS 1.0. It should therefore have the same API.
>>
>> Do you really believe this or are you trying to just be provocative?
> Do you really believe that backwards compatibility at the source level
> had to be sacrificed?
> Stable interfaces are the norm, unstable ones are remarkable. How many
> prongs does a ground-fault detecting electricity socket have?
> BLAS has multiple implementations, all with the same API. MPI looks
> the same on a bunch of Xboxes wired together with Ethernet as it does
> on a several million dollar supercomputer. GMP doesn't gratuitously
> change its interface with every performance enhancement, and to this
> day "Hello World" works unchanged on my machine, some 40 years after
> it first ran on a PDP-11. Everything about the environment it runs on
> is different, from the word size, to the endianness, to the output
> mechanism, to the interface I am using. And yet it works with only a
> recompile.
>
> TCP has undergone many changes to the implementation, yet the BSD
> sockets API still works. Why exactly does an application need to care
> about which ciphersuite is used? Why does it need to do more than hand
> over some trusted PKI roots, and a server certificate?
>
> The current APIs have caused lots of security bugs as people don't use
> them correctly. The solution: high level APIs that won't change when
> the implementation is upgraded. Is this really too lofty a goal? The
> costs of the current approach are obvious: what are the costs of
> making better APIs?

I won't defend OpenSSL's APIs, because I agree they're pretty sucky,
but I do want to observe that the TLS API did not change between TLS
1.0 and 1.2, so I'm not really sure what you're talking about here.