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Basic SELinux Regression Test Suite for the Linux Kernel

This directory contains the functional test suite for the LSM-based SELinux security module. Please refer to the test report available in doc/tests for complete documentation for this test suite. This README only covers a subset of that report, specifically the sections on running the tests and adding new tests.


Kernel Configuration

Your kernel should have been built with the configuration options specified by the defconfig file in this directory to run this testsuite. If you already have a working kernel configuration you can merge the provided defconfig file with your existing kernel .config file (or one generated via e.g. make localmodconfig or other commands) using the kernel ./scripts/kconfig/ script as follows:

# cd linux
# ./scripts/kconfig/ .config /path/to/selinux-testsuite/defconfig

Some of the config options may not be set in the final config because they are unnecessary based on your base config, e.g. you only need the CONFIG_*_FS_SECURITY option to be enabled for the particular filesystem type being used for the testing.

Do not set CONFIG_SECURITY_SELINUX_POLICYDB_VERSION_MAX; it is an option for legacy distributions (Fedora 3 and 4).

You should not enable any other security modules in your kernel configuration unless you use the security= option to select a module at boot time. Only one primary security module may be active at a time.

Userland and Base Policy

Fedora or RHEL

On a Fedora/RHEL based system the testsuite has the following userspace dependencies beyond a minimal install (other Linux distributions should have similar dependencies):

  • perl-Test (test harness used by the testsuite)
  • perl-Test-Harness (test harness used by the testsuite)
  • perl-Test-Simple (for Test::More)
  • perl-lib (for lib; split out from perl-interpreter since Fedora 33)
  • selinux-policy-devel (to build the test policy)
  • gcc (to build the test programs)
  • libselinux-devel (to build some of the test programs)
  • net-tools (for ifconfig, used by capable_net/test)
  • netlabel_tools (to load NetLabel configuration during inet_socket tests)
  • iptables (to load the iptables SECMARK rules during inet_socket tests)
  • lksctp-tools-devel (to build the SCTP test programs)
  • attr (tools used by the overlayfs tests)
  • libbpf-devel (tools used by the bpf tests)
  • keyutils-libs-devel (tools used by the keys tests)
  • kernel-devel (used by the kernel module tests)
  • quota, xfsprogs-devel and libuuid-devel (used by the filesystem tests)
  • e2fsprogs (used by the ext4 filesystem tests)
  • jfsutils (used by the jfs filesystem tests)
  • dosfstools (used by the vfat filesystem tests)
  • nftables (used by inet_socket and sctp tests if ver >= 9.3 for secmark testing )

On a modern Fedora system you can install these dependencies with the following command (NOTE: On Fedora 32 and below you need to remove perl-lib from the package list):

# dnf install perl-Test \
	perl-Test-Harness \
	perl-Test-Simple \
	perl-lib \
	selinux-policy-devel \
	gcc \
	libselinux-devel \
	net-tools \
	netlabel_tools \
	iptables \
	lksctp-tools-devel \
	attr \
	libbpf-devel \
	keyutils-libs-devel \
	quota \
	xfsprogs-devel \
	libuuid-devel \
	e2fsprogs \
	jfsutils \
	dosfstools \
	nftables \
	kernel-devel-$(uname -r) \
	kernel-modules-$(uname -r)


On Debian, you must first take steps to install and activate SELinux since it is not enabled in the default install. Make sure to backup your system first if you care about any local data.

# apt-get install selinux-basics selinux-policy-default auditd
# selinux-activate
# reboot

After activating, make sure that your login shell is running in the correct context:

# id -Z

If this shows something other than "unconfined_u:unconfined_r:unconfined_t:s0-s0:c0.c1023", you will need to first fix labeling or policy problems in your base system before proceeding. Make sure that your shell context is correct and you can switch to enforcing mode without breaking your system before proceeding.

On Debian, you can install the userspace dependencies with the following command:

# apt-get install perl \
	gcc \
	selinux-policy-dev \
	libselinux1-dev \
	net-tools \
	iptables \
	libsctp-dev \
	attr \
	libbpf-dev \
	libkeyutils-dev \
	linux-headers-$(uname -r) \
	quota \
	xfsprogs \
	xfslibs-dev \
	uuid-dev \
	e2fsprogs \
	jfsutils \
	dosfstools \
	nftables \

On Debian prior to version 11 (bullseye) you need to build and install netlabel_tools manually:

# git clone
# cd netlabel_tools
# sudo apt-get install autotools-dev autoconf automake libtool pkg-config libnl-3-dev libnl-genl-3-dev
# ./
# ./configure --prefix=/usr
# make
# sudo make install

Other Distributions

The testsuite requires a pre-existing base policy configuration of SELinux, using the reference policy as the baseline. It also requires the core SELinux userland packages (libsepol, checkpolicy, libselinux, policycoreutils, and if using modular policy, libsemanage) to be installed. The test scripts also rely upon the SELinux extensions being integrated into the coreutils package, with support for the chcon and runcon commands as well as the SELinux options to existing utilities such as ls and mkdir.

If the base distribution does not include the SELinux userland, then the source code for the core SELinux userland packages can be obtained from:

If the base distribution does not include a policy configuration, then the reference policy can be obtained from:

Optional Prerequisites


The InfiniBand tests require specialized hardware and are not enabled by default. If you have InfiniBand hardware on your system and wish to enable the InfiniBand tests you will need to install some additional packages, the list below is for Fedora/RHEL but other Linux distributions should have similar packages:

  • libibverbs-devel (to build the ibpkey test program)
  • infiniband-diags (for smpquery used by infiniband_endport/test)

On a modern Fedora system you can install these dependencies with the following command:

# dnf install libibverbs-devel infiniband-diags

Once the necessary packages have been installed, the tests need to be enabled and configured for your specific hardware configuration. The test configuration files are below, and each includes comments to help configure the tests:



It is possible to run most of the tests within a labeled NFS mount in order to exercise the NFS security labeling functionality. Certain tests have been excluded from such testing due to differences between NFS and local filesystems; these tests will be automatically skipped.

You will need to install an additional package, the package below is for Fedora/RHEL but other Linux distributions should have a similar package:

  • nfs-utils (for nfsd', exportfs', and other NFS-related programs)

On a modern Fedora system you can install this dependency with the following command:

# dnf install nfs-utils

If your distribution does not use systemd as its init system, you will need to customize the script found in the tools directory to correctly start and stop the nfs server. You may also choose to not start/stop the nfs-server as part of the script by removing those lines if you are already using NFS for other reasons.

Before running the tests in a labeled NFS mount, first ensure that you can run them successfully on a local filesystem following the standard instructions further below. Any failures that occur on a local filesystem should also typically be expected when running over NFS.

To run the tests within a labeled NFS mount, you can run the script while in the selinux-testsuite directory:

   # cd selinux-testsuite
   # ./tools/

The script will start the nfs-server, export the mount containing the testsuite directory with the security_label option to localhost, mount it via NFSv4.2 on /mnt/selinux-testsuite, switch to that directory, and run the testsuite there. After running the testsuite, the script will also perform tests of context mounts with and without the security_label export option and will test default NFS file labeling in the absence of any options. When finished, it will unmount and unexport the mount and then stop the nfs-server.

There is also an option to allow individual tests to be run on NFS as shown by the following example (ensure a valid policy is loaded):

   # cd selinux-testsuite
   # ./tools/ nfs_filesystem -v

Any test will then be run on a security_label exported filesystem without any *context= option set.

Running the Tests

Create a shell with the unconfined_r or sysadm_r role and the Linux superuser identity, e.g.:

# newrole -r sysadm_r # -strict or -mls policy only
# su

Check whether the SELinux kernel is in enforcing mode by running getenforce. If it is in permissive mode, toggle it into enforcing mode by running setenforce 1.

Ensure that expand-check = 0 in /etc/selinux/semanage.conf; if not, edit it accordingly.

To run the test suite, you can just do a make test from the top-level directory or you can follow these broken-out steps:

  1. Load the test policy configuration as follows:

    # make -C policy load

  2. Build and run the test suite from the tests subdirectory as follows:

    # make -C tests test

  3. Unload the test policy configuration as follows:

    # make -C policy unload

The broken-out steps allow you to run the tests multiple times without loading policy each time.

Note that if leaving the test policy in-place for further testing, the policy build process changes a boolean: On policy load: setsebool allow_domain_fd_use=0 On policy unload: setsebool allow_domain_fd_use=1 The consequence of this is that after a system reboot, the boolean defaults to true. Therefore if running the fdreceive or binder tests, reset the boolean to false, otherwise some tests will fail.

  1. Review the test results.

As each test script is run, the name of the script will be displayed followed by a status. After running all of the test scripts, a summary of the test results will be displayed. If all tests were successful, something similar to the following summary will be displayed (the specific numbers will vary):

All tests successful.
Files=7, Tests=16, 2 wallclock secs ( 0.17 cusr + 0.12 csys = 0.29 CPU)

Otherwise, if one or more tests failed, the script will report statistics on the number of tests that succeeded and will include a table summarizing which tests had failed. The output will be similar to the following text, which shows that a total of three tests have failed:

Failed Test  Status Wstat Total Fail  Failed  List of failed
entrypoint/test               2    1  50.00%  1
inherit/test                  3    2  66.67%  1-2
Failed 2/7 test scripts, 71.43% okay. 3/16 subtests failed, 81.25% okay.
make: *** [test] Error 255

You can also run individual test scripts by hand, e.g. running ./entrypoint/test, to see the raw output of the test script. This is particularly useful if a particular test within a given script fails in order to help identify the cause. When run by hand, the test script displays the expected number of tests, a status for each test, and any error messages from the test script or its helper programs.

Please report any failures to the mailing list, including a copy of the test summary output, the raw output from test scripts that failed, a description of your base platform, and the particular release of SELinux that you are using.

Adding New Tests

The functional test suite is not yet complete, so we still need additional tests to be written. See the GitHub issues tracker for the list of tests that still need to be written:

To add a new test, create a new test policy file and a new test script. The new test policy file should be added to the policy directory and should contain a set of test domains and types specifically designed for the test. For the test script, create a new subdirectory in the tests subdirectory, populate it with at least a Makefile and a test perl script and add it to the SUBDIRS definition in the Makefile file.

The Makefile must contain 'all' and 'clean' targets, even if they are empty, to support the build system. The test script must run with no arguments and must comply with the perl automated test format. The simplest way to comply with the Perl automated test format is to use the Perl Test module. To do this, first include the following statement at the top of the test Perl script:

use Test;

Next, include a declaration that specifies how many tests the script will run; the statement to include will be similar to:

BEGIN { plan tests => 2}    # run two tests

You can then use the 'ok' subroutine to print results:

ok(1);           # success
ok(0);           # failure
ok(0,1);         # failure, got '0', expected '1'
ok($results, 0); # success if $results == 0, failure otherwise

Standard error is ignored.

In general, the scripts need to know where they are located so that they can avoid hard-coded paths. Use the following line of Perl to establish a base directory (based on the path of the script executable). This won't always be accurate, but will work for this test harness/configuration.

$basedir = $0;  $basedir =~ s|(.*)/[^/]*|$1|;


This is the upstream SELinux testsuite which is designed as a basic set of regression tests for the SELinux kernel functionality.







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