This is a design page. It was used to design and discuss the initial implementation of the change. However, the state of this document does not necessarily correspond to the current state of the implementation since we do not keep this document up to date with further changes and bug fixes.

Fleet Commander Integration


FleetCommander is a service to centrally manage Desktop environments. It includes a server to define desktop profiles and a client to apply profile information to the user’s desktop session on a specified machine.

This design document describes the SSSD part of an integration of FleetCommander with FreeIPA. The integration is done two-fold, the IPA part of the integration is https://github.com/abbra/freeipa-desktop-profile/blob/master/plugin/Feature.mediawiki

As an administrator, I want to manage desktop profiles in a centralized way

As an administrator, I want to use centrally defined users, groups, hosts and host groups to specify how desktop profiles should be applied.

As an administrator, I want to make sure desktop profiles associated with a specific user or user group are downloaded and applied on a specific FreeIPA client according to the desktop profile rules defined in FreeIPA.

FleetCommander consists on two components:
  • a Cockpit plugin that connects to the FreeIPA and sets up profiles for different users.

  • a client side component activated by SSSD, which applies all the profiles retrieved by the latter.

Since this design page deals with the client side of the whole picture, this paragraph will focus on the integration of the FC client side component with SSSD.

The FC profiles will be downloaded by a new session_provider of IPA. This provider will be enabled by default and can be disabled by setting session_provider = none.

When a FreeIPA domain user logs in, the IPA provider will download the Fleet Commander profile and rule objects and drop the resulting JSON files into a per-user directory. The file names must be normalized and prepended with priority (please refer to the IPA design page for more details) and the FC client will be DBus activated by SSSD.

In the future, we would like to link the Fleet Commander profiles with HBAC rules, but the first implementation will not include this part.

Similar to how we look up and store sudo and HBAC rules, we will look up all profiles that apply to this host, with:


All host groups the IPA client is a member of must be included in the memberHost part of the filter. However, since in the typical scenario, sessions provider will be called after HBAC or SELinux processing was done, the host and host groups will be usually already cached and can be just reused from the cache.

Once all profiles are cached, processing and selection of the profiles that apply to the user logging in would be done offline. Again, this is similar to how we process sudo or HBAC rules. The local search’s filter will look for the user and all his groups. For performance reasons, we need to check if initgroups was performed prior to looking up the profiles and only issue another initgroups request if the user entry’s initgroup timestamp is expired.

The profiles will also be stored in the cache to allow offline processing. As an additional enhancement, we can skip writing the profile data to the cache if the remote data has not changed. We can take a look at the modifyTimestamp attribute value to see if any of the entries need an update in the cache.

The LDAP search will include the Fleet Commander payload data in the profile’s data attribute. Once the data are known, SSSD will write them to the disk. Since writing to the disk is typically quite fast

The JSON files will be stored in a new directory owned by the sssd-ipa subpackage. The top-level directory could be at /var/lib/sss/deskprofile/ with per-user subdirectories. So each per-user JSON file would be stored at /var/lib/sss/deskprofile/<domain>/<username>/<profilename>.json. The <username> directories need to be owned by the user being logged in.

The structure of the the created dirs follow:

            ------------ -------- ---------- ------------------
                 |          |          |            |
                 v          |          |            |
Created by sssd package as  |          |            |
root:root (or sssd:sssd)    |          |            |
and has permissions 0751    |          |            |
                            |          |            |
                            v          |            |
            Owned by user:user_group   |            |
            and has permissions 0751   |            |
                                       |            |
                                       |            |
                                       v            |
                    Owned by user:user_group        |
                    and has permissions 0700        |
                                    Owned by user:user_group
                                    and has permissions 0400

Please, keep in mind that this feature relies on CAP_SETUID and CAP_SETGID to properly work as expected and relies on SSSD being run as privileged user (root).

The <profilename.json> file must include the priority as a number which is read from the rule’s prio attribute. The Fleet Commander client component will then process the JSON files in this priority. The filenames must also be normalized so that characters with a special meaning in shell are escaped and spaces are converted to another character such as underscores. Please refer to the IPA design page for more details.

In the first version, the profiles will always be written again. In the future, we might want to optimize the process further by only writing the JSON profiles if they differ from what’s already stored on the disk. This might be doable by storing the modifyTimestamp in the JSON profiles again, if FC is able to ignore certain JSON key-value pairs that would be private to SSSD or just storing the largest USN value of the found profiles in the included directory in a specially-named file.

During implementation, as much code as possible should be reused from the IPA HBAC access code and/or SELinux rule processing code.

Two new configuration options will be added:

  • session_provider that will be inherited from the id_provider value, so for IPA clients, this provider will default to ipa. A default session_provider for other providers will just shortcut and return success.

Since searching for the Fleet Commander profiles does not come for free - at least one LDAP search must be issued, perhaps more unless we cache the host groups, and this functionality will be enabled by default in order to have it working “out of the box” for Fleet Commander’s users, we should keep a way to disable the functionality if needed. It can be easily done by setting session_provider = none, under the domain’s section, in the sssd.conf file.

Please see the use-cases above.

DEBUG messages will be added to the new session provider so that the admin can trace if the session provider was invoked at all. An easy way to debug the integration is to enable the sessions provider and the FleetCommander integration manually w/o dropping the file by the FC client side component.

  • Alexander Bokovoy

  • Jakub Hrozek