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gSwitch Readme

gSwitch is an identity switching utility which uses sudo to provide the
ultimate user switch. This avoids running any "grid" code setuid, which may be
more desirable for sites that prefer NFS software areas. gSwitch is GPLv3
licensed, see COPYING for details.

** This tool is provided with no warranty what-so-ever, implied or otherwise. **

Preamble & Warnings

As there is no authentication between gSwitch and sudo, the pilot account may
switch to any target account (within the same VO) by calling sudo directly. This
is a direct limitation caused by the design (and simplicity) of this tool.

Despite the above limitation, security of the pilot proxy is still ensured (as
a user switch is completed) and traceability is maintained: switches are logged
by the Argus server when gSwitch is used, should sudo be called directly, a
tamper-proof sudo log is still written (assuming sudo has been set-up as
directed below). These logs can be used together to always ensure that an end
DN is responsible for a given set of processes.

Only minimal checks are done on the target proxy. The private and public key are
tested to ensure they match, the rest of the verification is left for the Argus
server to process.

Sudo Configuration

Having a working sudo configuration is integral to making gSwitch work. An
example sudo config is as follows:

--- <example sudoers> ---

# Default options

# Set the new users home directory.
Defaults always_set_home

# Keep groups, this is only needed if the batch system uses tracking groups.
Defaults preserve_groups

# Don't reset the environment, used to keep software dir envs, etc...  Note
# that this may keep your "pilot" group for the payload, you should check
# whether this causes you any security problems if you decide to use it.
Defaults !env_reset

# No point in printing the normal sudo lecture
Defaults lecture=never

# Log to a non-syslog file so that the user can't send fake messages
Defaults logfile=/var/log/sudo.log

# This sets up the pilot accounts and target accounts for the VOs
# It is recommended to have a completely discrete set of accounts for gswitch.
# Although this will depend on whether you have a independent argus server.
# If you use the same accounts elsewhere (say a CE) this means the pilot
# account can potentially access proxies from those as well...
User_Alias  VO1_PILOTS  = vo1plt001, vo1plt002, vo1plt003
Runas_Alias VO1_TARGETS = vo1tgt001, vo1tgt002, vo1tgt003
User_Alias  VO2_PILOTS  = vo2plt001, vo2plt002, vo2plt003
Runas_Alias VO2_TARGETS = vo2tgt001, vo2tgt002, vo2tgt003

# Let the VOs pilot accounts switch to the target accounts without passwd

# This line is in the default sudoers file and may be required for some things
# I.e. init scripts which mistakenly use sudo.
root    ALL=(ALL)       ALL

--- </example sudoers> ---

Once this configuration is installed, you should be able to sudo directly
between a pilot account and a user account for the same VO without a password.
You should not be able to sudo from a target account to anywhere else. If you
can then please reconsider your configuration. The sudoers file needs to be
installed on all worker nodes through via some unspecified method (ideally a
configuration management system).


The installation of gSwitch itself should be fairly straight forward. On RHEL you
need the following packages installed (they can all be found in the base repos):

- sudo
- openssl
- python
- python-pycurl

All you need to do is set the Argus servers and CA certificates path at the top
of the script, mark it as executable and put it somewhere on the PATH. You can
also create a symlink to it if you want to start it with a different name. Once
the installation is complete, you should test that things work correctly; if
there are problems, try running in debug mode (-d). By running the commands
printed in debug mode manually, you can determine whether the problem is with
sudo or gSwitch.


There are certainly many bugs. Please send any bug reports to
with a subject starting "gSwitch Bug", remembering to include as much detail as