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Matt Mackall, the former maintainer of /dev/random, actually stepped down over this issue, because Linus overrode Matt and applied Intel's patch that used their hardware random number generator directly:


> It's worth noting that the maintainer of record (me) for the Linux RNG quit the project about two years ago precisely because Linus decided to include a patch from Intel to allow their unauditable RdRand to bypass the entropy pool over my strenuous objections.

> From a quick skim of current sources, much of that has recently been rolled back (/dev/random, notably) but kernel-internal entropy users like sequence numbers and address-space randomization appear to still be exposed to raw RdRand output.

Ted Ts'o later reverted this, separating out Intel's hardware random number generation into a separate function that could be used to seed the entropy pool but wouldn't be trusted directly as the main kernel source of random numbers:


If Matt protested, he did so quietly/privately. I wasn't aware of the fact that he had stepped down until the authors of the paper described in http://factorable.net showed up and pointed out we had a really bad problem for embedded devices on the internet. I had always assumed he had gotten too busy and distracted on other interests, since I do follow LKML, and I didn't see any kind of public debate/controversy about the change to the random driver described above.

If I had to guess what happened, some intel people pushed this as a feature, probably pushing it via one of the x86 git trees, and Linus either (a) didn't notice, or (b) didn't understand the implications, and then Matt quit in a huff --- by just stopping to do work, and not even updating the entry in the MAINTAINERS file. (That didn't happen until I took over the random driver again.)

Ah, here's the thread I was looking for:


It doesn't really look like he had NAKed it on paranoia grounds, but more on design grounds; others brought up the paranoia arguments. You were even involved in that thread, so you should have seen his stepping down, although he didn't submit a patch to MAINTAINERS.

You're right, if he did so, it must have been in private; I searched for a while to find a message on a public mailing list about it, and could not, so resorted to linking to that later message.

Regardless, I'm glad that paranoia did eventually prevail, despite Linus's original strong objections.

Sounds like Linus has some explaining to do...

Indeed. Where's Mr Sweary now, eh?

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