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TODO link to story first, API's first, story after,.

TODO improve API.

Lua global and package control

"Sandboxing" using loadfile, replacing the environment to record, determine, and/or restrict things. Basically want no distinctions between lua and luajit. (it appears to work on both)

To spell it out somewhat, using loadfile(filename, mode, environment) it makes an alternative require, that finds the file(alt_require.findfile) and makes an environment. The environment can be a table or get things via a metatable, so arbitrary functions can be applied, like.

API TODO live up to it.

Once installed local alt_require = require "alt_require".

  • .require(state, pass_through, [globals, ...])

    • state is the state to work with.

      state.package will indicate what package to read, if state is a string, it will be as if { package=that_string } is passed.

    • pass_through(state, globals, key,val) is a function (a list will be composed) that get those arguments. Here, state is as above,

      The output is the resultant value.

    • globals, ... are what globals are at that point. If a list they're rolled into one by changing the first. If any are string require "alt_require.glob." .. that_string.

      globals.require instead of taking in the package name, it gets state, pass_through, globals, so information for alternatives is needed.

      If no globals.require is provided, a default that keeps the sandbox going is used.

  • TODO .splice_require(list), list of {package_names_below, require_fun} that selects require functions based on package name.

You'll want to actually do something with it, some pass_through are in "", they're pretty simple. In there: (prep="")

  • require(prep.."inpackage_counts")(table) counts in table[package_name][key_name], i.e. what is accessed from where.

  • require(prep.."keep_count")(table) counts in table[key_name] same, but doesn't care about what package it is from.

  • require(prep.."block_error")(table) produces errors if table[package_name][key_name] has no entry and is accessed.

    Of course, inpackage_counts can collect what accesses what, and then this one can use the resulting table to enforce it.

    Although no guarantee everything was recorded, or that the recording doesn't contain anything nasty.. it may mis-block.

  • require(prep.."print")(table) Prints what global is accessed from where.


  • Recording what is being accessed, from where, to an extent.

    Don't think line numbers can be done, unless lua provides that information, but from-which-package is done in the test.

  • Determining what can be accessed or set, and what the result is. For instance:

    • Setting global variables can be outlawed.

    • Accessing os, io etcetera can just return nil or cause errors. (or return simulacra)

    • require can be replaced, infact it must, if you want to keep this control over sub-entities. However, it can also go to another mode of control.

      A particular override of require can obviously apply different restrictions and changes to different files.

    • If you assume lua "provides no escapes", and there are no bugs here, it can essentially be used for Mandatory Access Control. Unclear on the certainty of there being no escapes.

  • Third one of the above, but worthy of mentioning again, require can be altered to give different results from different files, so you can change them differently in different cases, making programs more modular.

    One question about this is how easy this is on the mind.. Probably better to have a differently named function get things of the same concept.

  • The below; accessing things actually returns objects that are handles that talk to an external server; a "simulacrum based on the entity on the other server" to say it fancy.

Magic across-server lua

Uses storebin, Pegasus and lua-socket for the client side to keep track of lua objects on the server side,

Could be useful for:

  • Dealing with when something works on lua but not luajit or vice versa.

  • Mandatory Access Control, if it is desired to isolate portions of code.

  • Magic moving code between client and server. However, clouds are bad.


You have to run the server(s) first, alt_require.bin.alt_require can be run as-is. C = require("alt_require.client.http") is the class.

  • c = C:new{under_uri = "http://localhost:26019/alt_require"} With just the default site to send the requests.

  • c:require_fun() a function that can be entered into one of the globals of .require. Use .splice_require with multiple cases leading to different server uris to use different servers in different case.

    Infact, the servers themselves can also run that way. TODO a thingy that sets up an entire network.

  • c:globals() has the above require function in it.

It should work accross ssh and stuff. ssh -L


  1. Unless the function came from the server -as-is-, the client cannot send functions to the server.

  2. getmetatable of a simulacrum, returns the thing simulating the object, so getmetatable itself won't be simulated.

    Some implementations of classes, obj.__index might effectively do it.

    Client-to-server are not sent with metatables currently. Barring (1) it could.

  3. Unknowns..

  4. It seems a little slow, though i see little reason why it should be. (note: perhaps use other data-transmission stuff, note2: storebin might be slow, but not nearly slow enough to explain the low speed)

    note3: it looks for __constant in tables now, tables that are constant are memoized on the other side.

In practice things seem to work with what i wrote for it so-far.

More internal API

This does not attempt to put any control inside objects that it returns, but the globals it produces, like require can be modified to do so.

  • .findfile(package_str), finds which file require would find the lua file in question, as lua does not expose that function.

  • .globals_index(state, pass_through, globals) returns a function for __index of an environment

    .globals() Just the above, but the table with it.

  • .raw_require(state, pass_through, globals)


It is under the MIT license accompanied.


  • Setting up a whole network.

  • Much better documentation regarding the core part.

  • Could be more tests on external projects, and the way server-client is split could be varied.

  • (really for storebin) Implement a store version that ports json. (json can't do full lua tables..)

    • Can javascript talk to it?
    • "pre-prepared store", basically with some definitions already transferred.
  • There is basically some "table-syncing" code in there.

    This can be separated out, and definitions-for-bandwidth-savings could be added.

  • Could build-in the top-level format, instead of using storebin. i.e. is_server_type 1byte, id 6 bytes, name(variable length), number-of-arguments, storebin-ed each argument.

    However depends on other things, and should do it using specialized

  • Map projects with recorders, producing graphs with graphviz.(wp)

  • More limitations can be removed with bidirectional communication.

    Both ends could have simulacra, and instead of the value, the server could sometimes return requests with not values, but instead ask more information about a server-side simulacrum.

    This can be done with the plain http and pegasus-approach. (however, it might make things more-complicated enough to keep a "one-way" version around)


"Sandbox" lua using `loadfile` and run some packages on a separate server program







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