Tag Archives: release

c-ares 1.13.0

The c-ares project may not be very fancy or make a lot of noise, but it steadily moves forward and boasts an amazing 95% code coverage in the automated tests.

Today we release c-ares 1.13.0.

This time there's basically three notable things to take home from this, apart from the 20-something bug-fixes.

CVE-2017-1000381

Due to an oversight there was an API function that we didn't fuzz and yes, it was found out to have a security flaw. If you ask a server for a NAPTR DNS field and that response comes back crafted carefully, it could cause c-ares to access memory out of bounds.

All details for CVE-2017-1000381 on the c-ares site.

(Side-note: this is the first CVE I've received with a 7(!)-digit number to the right of the year.)

cmake

Now c-ares can optionally be built using cmake, in addition to the existing autotools setup.

Virtual socket IO

If you have a special setup or custom needs, c-ares now allows you to fully replace all the socket IO functions with your own custom set with ares_set_socket_functions.

What’s new in curl

CURL keyboardWe just shipped our 150th public release of curl. On December 2, 2015.

curl 7.46.0

One hundred and fifty public releases done during almost 18 years makes a little more than 8 releases per year on average. In mid November 2015 we also surpassed 20,000 commits in the git source code repository.

With the constant and never-ending release train concept of just another release every 8 weeks that we're using, no release is ever the grand big next release with lots of bells and whistles. Instead we just add a bunch of things, fix a bunch of bugs, release and then loop. With no fanfare and without any press-stopping marketing events.

So, instead of just looking at what was made in this last release, because you can check that out yourself in our changelog, I wanted to take a look at the last two years and have a moment to show you want we have done in this period. curl and libcurl are the sort of tool and library that people use for a long time and a large number of users have versions installed that are far older than two years and hey, now I'd like to tease you and tell you what can be yours if you take the step straight into the modern day curl or libcurl.

Thanks

Before we dive into the real contents, let's not fool ourselves and think that we managed these years and all these changes without the tireless efforts and contributions from hundreds of awesome hackers. Thank you everyone! I keep calling myself lead developer of curl but it truly would not not exist without all the help I get.

We keep getting a steady stream of new contributors and quality patches. Our problem is rather to review and receive the contributions in a timely manner. In a personal view, I would also like to just add that during these two last years I've had support from my awesome employer Mozilla that allows me to spend a part of my work hours on curl.

What happened the last 2 years in curl?

We released curl and libcurl 7.34.0 on December 17th 2013 (12 releases ago). What  did we do since then that could be worth mentioning? Well, a lot, and then I'm going to mostly skip the almost 900 bug fixes we did in this time.

Many security fixes

Almost half (18 out of 37) of the security vulnerabilities reported for our project were reported during the last two years. It may suggest a greater focus and more attention put on those details by users and developers. Security reports are a good thing, it means that we address and find problems. Yes it unfortunately also shows that we introduce security issues at times, but I consider that secondary, even if we of course also work on ways to make sure we'll do this less in the future.

URL specific options: --next

A pretty major feature that was added to the command line tool without much bang or whistles. You can now add --next as a separator on the command line to "group" options for specific URLs. This allows you to run multiple different requests on URLs that still can re-use the same connection and so on. It opens up for lots of more fun and creative uses of curl and has in fact been requested on and off for the project's entire life time!

HTTP/2

There's a new protocol version in town and during the last two years it was finalized and its RFC went public. curl and libcurl supports HTTP/2, although you need to explicitly ask for it to be used still.

HTTP/2 is binary, multiplexed, uses compressed headers and offers server push. Since the command line tool is still serially sending and receiving data, the multiplexing and server push features can right now only get fully utilized by applications that use libcurl directly.

HTTP/2 in curl is powered by the nghttp2 library and it requires a fairly new TLS library that supports the ALPN extension to be fully usable for HTTPS. Since the browsers only support HTTP/2 over HTTPS, most HTTP/2 in the wild so far is done over HTTPS.

We've gradually implemented and provided more and more HTTP/2 features.

Separate proxy headers

For a very long time, there was no way to tell curl which custom headers to use when talking to a proxy and which to use when talking to the server. You'd just add a custom header to the request. This was never good and we eventually made it possible to specify them separately and then after the security alert on the same thing, we made it the default behavior.

Option man pages

We've had two user surveys as we now try to make it an annual spring tradition for the project. To learn what people use, what people think, what people miss etc. Both surveys have told us users think our documentation needs improvement and there has since been an extra push towards improving the documentation to make it more accessible and more readable.

One way to do that, has been to introduce separate, stand-alone, versions of man pages for each and very libcurl option. For the functions curl_easy_setopt, curl_multi_setopt and curl_easy_getinfo. Right now, that means 278 new man pages that are easier to link directly to, easier to search for with Google etc and they are now written with more text and more details for each individual option. In total, we now host and maintain 351 individual man pages.

The boringssl / libressl saga

The Heartbleed incident of April 2014 was a direct reason for libressl being created as a new fork of OpenSSL and I believe it also helped BoringSSL to find even more motivation for its existence.

Subsequently, libcurl can be built to use either one of these three forks based on the same origin.  This is however not accomplished without some amount of agony.

SSLv3 is also disabled by default

The continued number of problems detected in SSLv3 finally made it too get disabled by default in curl (together with SSLv2 which has been disabled by default for a while already). Now users need to explicitly ask for it in case they need it, and in some cases the TLS libraries do not even support them anymore. You may need to build your own binary to get the support back.

Everyone should move up to TLS 1.2 as soon as possible. HTTP/2 also requires TLS 1.2 or later when used over HTTPS.

support for the SMB/CIFS protocol

For the first time in many years we've introduced support for a new protocol, using the SMB:// and SMBS:// schemes. Maybe not the most requested feature out there, but it is another network protocol for transfers...

code of conduct

Triggered by several bad examples in other projects, we merged a code of conduct document into our source tree without much of a discussion, because this is the way this project always worked. This just makes it clear to newbies and outsiders in case there would ever be any doubt. Plus it offers a clear text saying what's acceptable or not in case we'd ever come to a point where that's needed. We've never needed it so far in the project's very long history.

--data-raw

Just a tiny change but more a symbol of the many small changes and advances we continue doing. The --data option that is used to specify what to POST to a server can take a leading '@' symbol and then a file name, but that also makes it tricky to actually send a literal '@' plus it makes scripts etc forced to make sure it doesn't slip in one etc.

--data-raw was introduced to only accept a string to send, without any ability to read from a file and not using '@' for anything. If you include a '@' in that string, it will be sent verbatim.

attempting VTLS as a lib

We support eleven different TLS libraries in the curl project - that is probably more than all other transfer libraries in existence do. The way we do this is by providing an internal API for TLS backends, and we call that 'vtls'.

In 2015 we started made an effort in trying to make that into its own sub project to allow other open source projects and tools to use it. We managed to find a few hackers from the wget project also interested and to participate. Unfortunately I didn't feel I could put enough effort or time into it to drive it forward much and while there was some initial work done by others it soon was obvious it wouldn't go anywhere and we pulled the plug.

The internal vtls glue remains fine though!

pull-requests on github

Not really a change in the code itself but still a change within the project. In March 2015 we changed our policy regarding pull-requests done on github. The effect has been a huge increase in number of pull-requests and a slight shift in activity away from the mailing list over to github more. I think it has made it easier for casual contributors to send enhancements to the project but I don't have any hard facts backing this up (and I wouldn't know how to measure this).

... as mentioned in the beginning, there have also been hundreds of smaller changes and bug fixes. What fun will you help us make reality in the next two years?

Why no curl 8

no 8In this little piece I'll explain why there won't be any version 8 of curl and libcurl in a long time. I won't rule out that it might happen at some point in the future. Just that it won't happen anytime soon and explain the reasons why.

Seven point twenty nine, really?

We've done 29 minor releases and many more patch releases since version seven was born, on August 7 2000. We did in fact bump the ABI number a couple of times so we had the chance of bumping the version number as well, but we didn't take the chance back then and these days we have a much harder commitment and determinism to not break the ABI.

There's really no particular downside with having a minor version 29. Given our current speed and minor versioning rules, we'll bump it 4-6 times/year and we won't have any practical problems until we reach 256. (This particular detail is because we provide the version number info with the API using 8 bits per major, minor and patch field and 8 bits can as you know only hold values up to 255.) Assuming we bump minor number 6 times per year, we'll reach the problematic limit in about 37 years in the fine year 2050. Possibly we'll find a reason to bump to version 8 before that.

Prepare yourself for seven point an-increasingly-higher-number for a number of years coming up!

Is bumping the ABI number that bad?

Yes!

We have a compatibility within the ABI number so that a later version always work with a program built to use the older version. We have several hundred million users. That means an awful lot of programs are built to use this particular ABI number. Changing the number has a ripple effect so that at some point in time a new version has to replace all the old ones and applications need to be rebuilt - and at worst also possibly have to be rewritten in parts to handle the ABI/API changes. The amount of work done "out there" on hundreds or thousands of applications for a single little libcurl tweak can be enormous. The last time we bumped the ABI, we got a serious amount of harsh words and critical feedback and since then we've gotten many more users!

Don't sensible systems handle multiple library versions?

Yes in theory they do, but in practice they don't.

If you build applications they have the ABI number stored for which lib to use, so if you just keep the different versions of the libraries installed in the file system you'll be fine. Then the older applications will keep using the old version and the ones you rebuild will be made to use the new version. Everything is fine and dandy and over time all rebuilt applications will use the latest ABI and you can delete the older version from the system.

In reality, libraries are provided by distributions or OS vendors and they ship applications that link to a specific version of the underlying libraries. These distributions only want one version of the lib, so when an ABI bump is made all the applications that use the lib will be rebuilt and have to be updated.

Most importantly, there's no pressing need!

If we would find ourselves cornered without ability to continue development without a bump then of course we would take the pain it involves. But as things are right now, we have a few things we don't really like with the current API and ABI but in general it works fine and there's no major downsides or great pains involved. We simply do not have any particularly good reason to bump version number or ABI version. Things work pretty good with the current way.

The future is of course unknown and at some point we'll face a true limitation in the API that we need to bridge over with a bump, but it can also take a long while until we hit that snag.

Update April 6th: this article has been read by many and I've read a lot of comments and some misunderstandings about it. Here's some additional clarifications:

  1. this isn't stuff we've suddenly realized now. This is truths and facts we've learned over a long time and this post just makes it more widely available and easier to find. We already worked with this knowledge. I decided to blog about it since it struck me we didn't have it documented anywhere.
  2. not doing version 8 (in a long time) does not mean we're done or that the pace of development slows down. We keep doing releases bimonthly and we keep doing an average of 30 something bugfixes in each release.

curl and libcurl 7.29.0

As a representative for the team behind curl and libcurl, we're of course proud to yet again having shipped a release to the public today. Over 240 commits, with in total almost 10000 lines added and 6000 removed since the previous release in November 2012. We're only a month away until the curl project turns 15 years old.

Some highlights this time include:

  • We fixed a nasty overflow vulnerability we have been shipping in a few previous releases. The flaw existed in code used by IMAP, POP3 and SMTP.
  • We introduced a new test suite output mode that is "automake compliant". This can help linux distros and others who want to run many test suites and have a unified way of parsing the results and outcome. It follows the spirit of ptest and I believe it will be used in the future.
  • The IMAP support got a lot of improvements and lots of login and authentication fixes were brought in. Now libcurl supports the sasl methods digest-md5, cram-md5, ntlm and login., and it also recognizes the login disabled server capability.
  • Architecture wise, we remodeled the internals quite a lot and made it "always-multi". This improves readability and internal complexity and is all just goodness. The short-term downside is possibly the risk for a temporary increase in bug reports due to this...
  • 35 specified bug fixes were crammed in as well, and there are a bunch more we haven't mentioned that just "silently" improved the multi interface functionality.

News in curl 7.24.0

We continue doing curl releases roughly bi-monthly. This time we strike back with a release holding a few interesting new things that I thought are worth highlighting a little extra!

The most important and most depressing news about this release is the two security problems that were fixed. Never before have we released two security advisories for the same release.

Security fixes

The "curl URL sanitization vulnerability" is about how curl trusts user provided URL strings a little too much. Providing sneakily crafted URLs with embeded url-encoded carriage returns and line feeds users could trick curl to do un-intended actions when POP3, SMTP or IMAP protocols were used.

The "curl SSL CBC IV vulnerability" is about how curl inadvertently disables a security measurement in OpenSSL and thus weakens the security for some aspects of SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 connections.

Changes

We have a bunch of new changes added to curl and libcurl that some users might like:

  • curl has this ability to run a set of "extra commands" for a couple of protocols when doing a transfer - we call them "quote" operations. A while ago we introduced a way to mark commands within a series of quote commands as not being important if they fail and that the rest of the commands should be sent anyway. We mark such commands with a '*'-prefix. Starting now, we support that '*'-prefix for SFTP operations as well!
  • CURLOPT_DNS_SERVERS is a brand new option that allows programs to set which DNS server(s) libcurl should use to resolve host names. This function only works if libcurl was built to use a resolver backend that allows it to change DNS servers. That currently means nothing else but c-ares.
  • Now supports nettle for crypto functions. libcurl has long been supporting both OpenSSL and gcrypt backends for some of the crypto functions libcurl supports. The gcrypt made perfect sense when libcurl was built to use GnuTLS built to use gcrypt, but since GnuTLS recently has changed to using nettle by default the newly added support to use nettle with remove the need for an extra crypto link being linked for some users.
  • CURLOPT_INTERFACE was modified to allow "magic prefixes" for the application to tell that it uses an interface and not a host name and vice versa. The previous way would always test for both, which could lead to accidental (and slow) name resolves when the interface name isn't currently present etc.
  • Active FTP sessions with the multi interface are now done much more non-blocking than before. Previously the multi interface would block while waiting for the server to connect back but it no longer does. A new option called CURLOPT_ACCEPTTIMEOUT_MS was added to allow programs to set how long libcurl should wait for accepting the server getting back.
  • Coming in from the Debian packaging guys, the configure script how features a new option called --enable-versioned-symbols that does exactly what it is called: it enables versioned symbols in the output libcurl.

curl 7.22.0

Another release of curl and libcurl just happened. 7.22.0 is released.

Apart from the 28 something documented bug fixes, we introduce a range of changes that could be noteworthy:

  • Added CURLOPT_GSSAPI_DELEGATION - remember that we explicitly disabled GSSAPI delegation in our previous release due to a security problem. Now we introduce an option for the application to control exactly how to behave.
  • Added support for NTLM delegation to Samba's winbind daemon helper ntlm_auth. This lets libcurl use the external helper program to do things like NTLM single-sign on.
  • Display notes from setup file in testcurl.pl - provides a way for test clients to provide more information back to the centralized test summary on the primary server.
  • BSD-style lwIP TCP/IP stack experimental support on Windows - there are still flaws in lwIP on windows that prevents it from working properly
  • OpenSSL: Use SSL_MODE_RELEASE_BUFFERS if available - this is basically a way to ask OpenSSL to use less memory
  • --delegation was added to set CURLOPT_GSSAPI_DELEGATION - simply the new option exported to the command line tool
  • nss: start with no database if the selected database is broken - a slightly modified behavior
  • telnet: allow programatic use on Windows - basically making the windows implementation in sync with how the non-windows version already has worked for quite some time

This release is this great thanks to 25 friendly contributors.

cURL

Shipping curl 7.21.5

I don't usually post anything here when we do curl releases, pretty much because we do them bimonthly on a fairly steady schedule so there should be little surprise to anyone interested by the time they get public.

But hey, this is hard work and just to remind you all what's going on I thought I'd throw in a mention of what we've spent the last two months doing. curl and libcurl 7.21.5 is released today.

The five notable changes introduced this time include:

The CURLOPT_SOCKOPTFUNCTION callback can now return information back to libcurl that the socket libcurl operates on is already connected. This is useful for applications that do a lot of fiddling on their own and possibly provide its own socket to start with using the CURLOPT_OPENSOCKETFUNCTION.

curl the tool got support for the --netrc-file option, that allows a user to point out a specific .netrc file instead of always forcing the user to use the fixed $HOME/.netrc one.

Brand new support for building libcurl with the cyassl library for SSL/TLS support. Previously curl only had support for the older OpenSSL emulation API that cyassl used to provide, but starting now we're using cyassl directly and it is now a proper SSL citizen among the seven SSL libraries curl supports.

Since the previous release when we shipped the first support for TLS-SRP that required GnuTLS, the OpenSSL project accepted patches that introduced TLS-SRP into their official version as well and accordingly we have received patches that now allow users to use TLS-SRP with libcurl built against (a new enough) OpenSSL as well.

We have started to re-use two error codes a bit differently within libcurl, so that it now can return: CURLE_NOT_BUILT_IN (4) when an application tries to use a feature that was missing or was explicitly disabled at build-time and CURLE_UNKNOWN_OPTION (48) when the application has passed in an option that isn't known or recognized.

And we're counting more than 40 bugfixes worth mentioning. The most important ones are possibly:

If using the multi interface doing RTSP, libcurl could crash when trying to re-use a previous connection.

POP3 didn't do TLS properly, it issued the wrong command to start TLS and it didn't send the password correctly once it did switch to TLS!

When using the multi interface, there could be times when the timeout didn't trigger so it wouldn't close lingering connections even when asked to do so.

SFTP and SFP with the multi_socket interface were not working correctly and would very easily end up with stalled transfers due to the application being told to wait for the wrong action (or none at all).

If told to use the CCC command (which is used with FTP-SSL when the client asks the server to switch off from an SSL connection back to plain TCP again), curl would disable SSL on the connection but then use the wrong socket reader function and crash.

... but of course, if you've suffered from a particular bug in a previous release I'm sure you'll consider the exact bug fix that corrects your problem to be the most important one!

Not to forget, the great people apart from yours truly that have contributed with code and insights since the previous release. Without them, the above list of changes and bugfixes just wouldn't exist. The friends we have to thank are (in no particular order):

Mike Crowe, Kamil Dudka, Julien Chaffraix, Hoi-Ho Chan, Ben Noordhuis, Dan Fandrich, Henry Ludemann, Karl M, Manuel Massing, Marcus Sundberg, Stefan Krause, Todd A Ouska, Saqib Ali, Andre Guibert de Bruet, Tor Arntsen, Vincent Torri, Dave Reisner, Chris Smowton, Tinus van den Berg, Hongli Lai, Gisle Vanem, Andrei Benea, Mehmet Bozkurt

... and now back to working towards the next release. To be expected in roughly two months. Repeat.

libssh2 release again

libssh2We've mostly been fixing bugs and making things internally look better in the libssh2 source code during the recent months so the new release I just uploaded, called version 1.2.7, isn't really exciting to any particular level for outsiders. Existing users should however be fairly happy as we've addressed a fair bunch of bugs and some of them have been annoying us in the project for a long time.

I'm convinced this is the best libssh2 release we've ever made.

The list of bug-fixes include these:

  • Better handling of invalid key files
  • inputchecks: make lots of API functions check for NULL pointers
  • libssh2_session_callback_set: extended the man page
  • SFTP: limit write() to not produce overly large packets
  • agent: make libssh2_agent_userauth() work blocking properly
  • _libssh2_userauth_publickey: reject method names longer than the data
  • channel_free: ignore problems with channel_close()
  • typedef: make ssize_t get typedef without LIBSSH2_WIN32
  • _libssh2_wait_socket: poll needs milliseconds
  • libssh2_wait_socket: reset error code to "leak" EAGAIN less
  • Added include for sys/select.h to get fd.set on some platforms
  • session_free: free more data to avoid memory leaks
  • openssl: make use of the EVP interface
  • Fix underscore typo for 64-bit printf format specifiers on Windows
  • Make libssh2_debug() create a correctly terminated string
  • userauth_hostbased_fromfile: packet length too short
  • handshake: Compression enabled at the wrong time
  • Don't overflow MD5 server hostkey

If you find other bugs or have patches, just bring them all to us!

a big curl forward

We're proudly presenting a major new release of curl and libcurl and we call it 7.20.0.

The primary reason we decided to bump the minor number this time was that we introduce a range of new protocols, but we also did some other rather big works. This is the biggest update to curl and libcurl that have been made in recent years. Let me mention some of the other noteworthy changes and bugfixes:

We fixed a potential security issue, that would occur if an application requested to download compressed HTTP content and told libcurl to automatically uncompress it (CURLOPT_ENCODING) as then libcurl could wrongly call the write callback (CURLOPT_WRITEFUNCTION) with a larger buffer than what is documented to be the maximum size.

TFTP was finally converted to a "proper" protocol internally. By that I mean that it can now be used with the multi interface in an asynchronous way and it has far less special treatments. It is now "just another protocol" basically and that is a good thing. Also, the BLKSIZE problem with TFTP that has haunted us for a while was fixed so I really think this is the best version ever for TFTP in libcurl.

In several different places in the code older versions of libcurl didn't properly call the progress callback while waiting for some special event to happen. This made the curl tool's progress meter less responding but perhaps more importantly it prevented apps that use libcurl to abort the transfer during those phases. The affected periods included the ftp connection phase (including the initial FTP commands and responses), waiting for the TCP connect to complete and resolving host names using c-ares.

The DNS cache was found to have at least two bugs that could make entries linger in the database eternally and in another case too long. For apps that use a lot of connections to a lot of hosts, these problems could result in some serious performance punishments when the DNS cache lookups got slower and slower over time.

Users of the funny ftp server drftpd will appreciate that (lib)curl now support the PRET command, which is needed when getting data off such servers in passive mode. It's a bit of a hack, but what can we do? We didn't invent it nor can we help that it's a popular thing to use! 😉

cURL