= System Wide Change: NSS Default File Format SQL =
* Kai Engert <kaie(a)redhat.com>
Change the NSS library default to use the sqlite based data storage,
when applications don't specify their preferred storage file format.
== Detailed Description ==
Applications that use the NSS library often use a database for storage
of keys, certificates and trust. NSS supports two different file
formats, one called DBM (based on berkeley DB files) and another one
called SQL (based on sqlite DB files).
Today's default file format used by NSS, used when applications omit
the type parameter, is the older DBM file format, which forbids
parallel access to the storage. The suggestion is to change the
default file format to SQL, which allows parallel access to the
Applications, or users using the NSS command line utilities, often
provide the database storage location using a simple directory path
parameter. Some might not be aware, or forget, that the parameter can
be prefixed with a type modifier, either "dbm:" or "sql:".
As a result, when not providing this parameter, the file format used
will be the fragile DBM file format. This is particuarly problematic,
if a user attempts to modify the NSS storage using command line tools,
while another process, such as a daemon, is running concurrently,
which also accesses the same database in the DBM file format. This
often results in corrupted database storage, which cannot be
By changing the default, all applications that currently use the DBM
file format, will automatically be migrated to the SQL file format.
NSS has the ability to discover if a storage location (a directory)
contains the DBM file format. If configured to use the modern SQL
format, NSS will automatically perform a one-time conversion from the
DBM to the SQL format.
The same applies to the NSS command line utilities. If the NSS library
default is changed to SQL, the NSS tools will also trigger the
one-time conversion, or access the already converted files.
== Scope ==
* Proposal owners:
A small downstream patch needs to be applied to the NSS library
package, which changes the library default.
* Other developers:
It's up to developers of NSS applications, if they accept the new
default and an automatic conversion, or if they prefer to continue to
use the classic DBM storage format. Although not recommended,
developers can easily do so, by adding a "dbm:" prefix to the storage
parameter they provide to NSS at NSS library initialization time.
* Release engineering: 
No help should be necessary. No mass rebuild necessary.
* Policies and guidelines: N/A
* Trademark approval: N/A
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