Talk:Dm-crypt

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Cleanup and Clarification

I'm considering to do some editing and rewriting of this page, mainly in part "4 The Steps". The content would mostly stay the same, safe for some changes introduced with the newer versions of arch, where less console switching and module loading is needed. On the same subject should we drop, or move to a subsection, the parts related to versions 0.72 of arch?

Does anyone have objections to my plans, or should I just go ahead and we can revert back if it doesn't fit? WhiteMagic 12:56, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Clean up is really needed. Please someone with enough knowledge start the job. -- Fengchao (talk) 02:55, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
This is new territory for me, but I want to implement this topic myself soon. I'll start with removing some duplicated content. T1nk3r3r (talk) 07:25, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Splitting sections into separate pages

Does anyone else feel that 11,305 words is too long for a single article? I'd like to propose splitting this article across multiple pages. If MediaWiki's Subpages feature is enabled, this might be a good time to use it. The article contains many sections that are not greatly related to one another. For example, does one really need to know how to (section 6) encrypt a loopback filesystem or (section 3.2) use a keyfile in order to (section 3.3) encrypt a swap partition? It's common to encrypt a swap partition without using a keyfile or an encrypted loopback filesystem, so why are they discussed in the same article?

I acknowledge that all the sections are related to LUKS, but many of them are not dependent on each other. Having many vaguely related topics makes the article difficult to follow and maintain. I propose Subpages because subpages can show their relationship to LUKS (and other sections, just as an example: /LUKS/Configuration/Keyfiles). In the absence of Subpages, placing a general overview of LUKS in the main article -- and links to pages on more specific topics -- would also be an improvement. Separating sections into (sub)pages would also keep talk pages attuned to a specific subject.

I have some suggestions for improvement of individual sections as well, but I think separating sections would be a good first step. EscapedNull (talk) 14:26, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi, the article is among the longest, splitting it into subpages could help not feeling overwhelmed by it, however a lot of care should be taken in doing it, that's why I think you've been very wise to start a discussion first. We've had a number of users working hard on it, in particular I'd like to point you to a recent discussion I had with User:Indigo, #Encrypting_a_LVM_setup_.28ex_section_8.29, on which we agreed on keeping Dm-crypt_with_LUKS#Encrypting_a_LVM_setup here instead of merging it to Encrypted LVM: moving it to a subpage would somehow conflict with that decision, so I'll try to invite Indigo to discuss here with us on what to do now.
Finally, just to answer your doubts, this wiki doesn't have the subpage feature enabled on the Main namespace, nonetheless subpages (i.e. article names with slashes) are already commonly used to keep series of related articles together, so that would indeed be the way to split this article.
-- Kynikos (talk) 02:54, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
After reading the discussion, I see what you mean. However, I don't think splitting up the article would interfere too much with the decision to keep a brief overview of LUKS and LVM in addition to the Encrypted LVM page. The setup I had in mind was roughly giving each top-level section its own page (but don't quote me on that). The overview and the Encrypted LVM page seem to overlap, and I don't see much benefit to maintaining both, although Kynokos and Indigo might not agree and that's fine. Personally I find the Encrypted LVM page easier to follow and I think it gives the reader a better understanding of the subject, which is why my own edits on the subject have gone there rather than this page. Case and point, I'd propose replacing the overview with Encrypted LVM (as a pseudo-subpage, or just a link), but maintaining the overview is also okay, and perhaps it would just get its own article or pseudo-subpage. The main point I was trying to make is that I think LUKS/dm-crypt is too broad a topic for a single article. And as you said, I'd also be interested in hearing what Indigo has to say about this. EscapedNull (talk) 17:24, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for sharing your ideas here. Getting rid of not required content would be a preferable way, if you ask me. Particularly by (a) streamlining to LUKS and vacuuming for clarity. Then (b) splitting content by moving out sections to new pages can help and be a way forward. Yet I don't see a reason why (a) cannot be done while possibilites for (b) are figured out. If you look at the sections you quote in your first post, you will notice 2/3 have short introductory paras and would work as a subpage or even separate pages. Quite a number of edits were made to that respect and continuing with it should make it easier to re-structure the article, if that is the outcome of the discussion. If not, it is still more readable this way.
I don't grasp what you have in mind with replacing the "overview" (?) with Encrypted_LVM. I would rather merge LUKS#LVM:_Logical_Volume_Manager (the "overview"?) to there and link it from here. If you are instead referring to LUKS#Encrypting_a_LVM_setup (and hence the talk quoted by Kynikos above) as the "overview", it would be a great contribution to merge it into Encrypted_LVM. I am sure Kynikos will agree - he proposed to do that originally. In case you would like to approach the merge, please go forward with it. I'll make sure LUKS#Encrypting_a_system_partition regains the cross-linked content.
Back to your original topic:
For (a) maybe you want to re-consider to join in for editing in the suggestions you have in mind first.
For (b) another point that should be addressed along is how the new pages (plain dm-crypt and encrypted LVM) could benefit at the same time. If you ask me now, separating common content would be a preferable approach to using a subpage structure (e.g. like the multipage BG). Perhaps you can detail options you see for (b). How would you re-structure the top sections on this page? Which sections would you fork out from LUKS, ideally with perspective to the other encryption pages? --Indigo (talk) 05:03, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
By "overview" I was talking about section 7 "Encrypting an LVM setup." I didn't even notice that LVM was discussed twice (a testament to disorganization of the page as it is now). I see what you mean about the disadvantages of subpages. I mentioned subpages because, for example, an LVM can be encrypted using almost any block level encryption, and one could argue that setups using different underlying technologies should be separate pages (e.g. LUKS/Encrypted_LVM, Plain_dm-crypt/Encrypted_LVM, and cryptoloop/Encrypted_LVM) as the information is likely to be different (but this could lead to duplicated information, too). It was only an idea, and perhaps something like Category:Disk_Encryption would be more appropriate. After all, subpages are disabled for a reason.
I thought it would be a good idea to split the article first and edit second because it would be easier to focus on a single topic, and because it could save us from editing information twice in case it conflicts with the new structure. But if you think it would be best to edit first and restructure later, I'm fine with that I guess. Kynikos, do you have a preference? EscapedNull (talk) 13:44, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
My suggestion was that editing section content can be done in a way so that forking one out does not require major double edits. Meanwhile we gained another section LUKS#Encrypting_the_home_partition. With that it becomes easier to get rid of LUKS#Encrypting_a_LVM_setup here by finalizing Encrypted_LVM and double checking nothing is lost. Apart from that, anyone has a suggestion which section may be a first worthwhile candidate for a separate page? --Indigo (talk) 21:54, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry for losing sight of this discussion... I think managing to finalize the merge to Encrypted LVM would be a great way of starting to split this article. Then maybe Dm-crypt with LUKS#Specialties and I'd say also Dm-crypt with LUKS#Backup the cryptheader could be moved to a Dm-crypt with LUKS/Specialties article. Then... well, without those sections around it will be a little easier to understand the next steps I hope. -- Kynikos (talk) 04:36, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Hm, since you mention subpages again: the reason I am unsure about them, as described above, is that I find them confusing to browse. The example I keep having in mind is the multipage BG guide. Reading that I have to scroll down to the page end in order to see links to subsequent subpages (e.g. Beginners'_Guide/Post-installation). If the master page had a TOC including sections of the subpages, that would be more transparent. But the TOC always starts with 1 per page and makes no reference back or forth. A reader not knowing the content will only find the subpages by coincidence, if at all.
Now, while writing the reply, I had the idea to leave in the section heading, but move the content to a subpage. This way the main LUKS article keeps at least a reference in the TOC and links out content not necessary for all readers. I just created two subpages to see and show how it works out:
1. Dm-crypt_with_LUKS#Backup_the_cryptheader now leading to Dm-crypt_with_LUKS/Backup_the_cryptheader
2. Dm-crypt_with_LUKS#Encrypting_a_loopback_filesystem now leading to Dm-crypt_with_LUKS/Encrypting_a_loopback_filesystem
(Feel free to revert the edits I did to test it out for 1 and 2. I thought it's important to see in context).
I would not want to do that with a section like Dm-crypt_with_LUKS#Specialties because that contains only short subsections (hence the main TOC would loose the references to them). But another candidate is surely Dm-crypt_with_LUKS#Using_Cryptsetup_with_a_Keyfile and of course the remaining LVM bits (until Encrypted LVM is complete).
Thoughts? --Indigo (talk) 20:26, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Honestly I wasn't thinking of creating many subpages with just little content in each, my "idea" (not very clear yet) was to end up having just a bunch of big subpages (e.g. Dm-crypt with LUKS/Initial Setup, Dm-crypt with LUKS/Configuring LUKS, Dm-crypt with LUKS/Specialties...) and use Dm-crypt with LUKS as just a very short overview page, using a format similar to General Recommendations, with a section for each subpage that links there and briefly introduces its content, preferably with inline links to its various sections.
Quoting your last post, "A reader not knowing the content will only find the subpages by coincidence, if at all", I think this system would avoid that problem, both because of the little introductions with links, and because the shortness of the article would make the reader curious to open all the subpages to see what they talk about, none of them being seen as a subpage more important than the others.
I hope I've been able to express the idea clearly enough ^^' -- Kynikos (talk) 10:36, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
You develop it further and I see what you mean, yes. Yet the General Recommendations serve a totally different purpose. That article gives a guide across a wide variety of system setup topics. The LUKS page focusses on one kernel toolset and the various specialities for it (which is why I prefer a complete TOC as a reader totally). Nonetheless, I like your idea and (quickly - not attempting to change content but to show the case) tried to mod the test case 2 above accordingly: [1]. Now that results in us keeping the TOC of the main page complete but still forks the section out: Dm-crypt_with_LUKS#Encrypting_a_loopback_filesystem. Is this more something you would anticipate?
--Indigo (talk) 19:29, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I will try to put my ideas together in User:Kynikos/Dm-crypt with LUKS first. -- Kynikos (talk) 08:51, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Ok, a very rough draft is ready in:
How do you like it? If you agree with the general idea, I will apply it to the real article, but then would you be willing to help me finishing the job? Especially I'd like to still take some generic content off User:Kynikos/Dm-crypt with LUKS/Examples, filling Dm-crypt with LUKS#System configuration. -- Kynikos (talk) 11:04, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Ah, of course we should also take care of updating all the reciprocal links among the sub-articles (all those containing a #Fragment). -- Kynikos (talk) 11:07, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Kynikos, thank you for your time to set it out so clearly!
I still prefer the single page format myself really, but the point is more how other readers not familiar with the topic can cope with it in KISS style. (unfortunately just few raised opinions). All in all I agree now that this can be a good way forward to re-structure the article. I guess I could just not picture it earlier. Anyhow, it will be a pleasure to help you with it. I have left comments and questions in User_talk:Kynikos/Dm-crypt_with_LUKS.
--Indigo (talk) 22:27, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Great, I will answer you there then. -- Kynikos (talk) 11:37, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Just to make it as clear as possible, User:Kynikos/Dm-crypt with LUKS has "moved" to Dm-crypt with LUKS/draft and User talk:Kynikos/Dm-crypt with LUKS has moved to Talk:Dm-crypt with LUKS/draft. -- Kynikos (talk) 14:00, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
The new links are Dm-crypt and Talk:Dm-crypt. -- Kynikos (talk) 04:18, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
So what have we decided, exactly? I see there's now a Dm-crypt page with subpages. Is that where sections from this page are going to be moved? What about the merge from section 7 to Encrypted LVM that User:Kynikos mentioned? Is that still happening, or are we going to make a Dm-crypt/Encrypted LVM subpage instead and merge Encrypted LVM into it? I'm willing to help, but I'm not sure as to what I should be doing.
Have a look at Talk:Dm-crypt#New_idea for your questions and the new plan, and then the Dm-crypt subpages. There's plenty of stuff to do to implement it to plan. If you are unsure how to help, look for the 'accuracy' and 'expansion' tags for example. Would be great, if you want to join in. --Indigo (talk) 19:35, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd only like to add that Encrypted LVM is already merged into the new dm-crypt/Encrypting an Entire System, it's only a matter of properly moving duplicated content to the other subpages of dm-crypt. Of course any help is really welcome, as there's still a lot to do! -- Kynikos (talk) 02:50, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Can't this be closed? --Indigo (talk) 20:06, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I think so. dm-crypt is fairly mature at this point. EscapedNull (talk) 16:36, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
So do I, closed. -- Kynikos (talk) 07:23, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

New idea

The philosophy behind the current old structure was to try to generalize the various steps for encrypting an entire system or a device and managing it, however we've noticed it's kind of hard. A new idea for reducing duplication of content while maintaining, if not improving, readability, would be to rename the "/Examples" subpage to "/Common Scenarios" and move it to first place in Dm-crypt with LUKS/draft, so it's used use the dm-crypt#Common scenarios section as the starting point by the readers. It should contain the most common uses for encryption, which IMO are:

Each of those scenarios should be mostly a stripped sequence of commands with short descriptions that should link to generic sections in the other subpages of Dm-crypt with LUKS dm-crypt, pointing out all the particular suggested adaptations that apply to that particular scenario.

The idea is quite clear in my mind, I hope I've managed to explain it well enough, I'll try to put it into practice and see if it raises major problems.

-- Kynikos (talk) 03:08, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

EDIT: since Plain dm-crypt without LUKS would be merged here, the main article should be just renamed to dm-crypt. -- Kynikos (talk) 03:09, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

EDIT: updated for current structure. -- Kynikos (talk) 04:31, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Scenario structure

Plenty of stuff to do, yet: Taking for granted we want an additional example with RAID sometime, it might be worth considering to split dm-crypt/Encrypting an Entire System into a subpage for (e.g.) dm-crypt/Encrypting a single disk system and dm-crypt/Encrypting a system across multiple disks scenarios. The latter covering "LUKS on LVM" and said RAID. Main reason: page length. If you agree, let's better do it now. --Indigo (talk) 12:11, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Not a bad idea at all! However IMHO the proposed titles are a bit misleading: I would go for dm-crypt/Encrypting a System on Physical Devices and dm-crypt/Encrypting a System on Virtual Devices, in fact you can use multiple physical disks in every case if you want. -- Kynikos (talk) 03:48, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
EDIT: Note that the history of dm-crypt/Encrypting an Entire System should be preserved by moving it to one of the two titles, and then (or before) splitting the other page. -- Kynikos (talk) 03:49, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
+1 to your edit, I learned that from watching. The one letdown of this whole fun exercise is that the wiki engine does not seem to support basic content splits and joins preserving history. Anyhow, we might as well just keep it in mind and consider splitting it later (when there is something about RAID). Funnily, I find the use of "physical" (all blockdevices are on one) and "virtual" (suggests a qcow device) as differentiator not totally clear too. Let's meditate over it again until someone has another snappy idea. --Indigo (talk) 23:16, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Scenario intros

I want to bring up another contexual point: You put in 'expansion' tags at the beginning of each section of the scenario page to "Compare to the other scenarios with advantages/disadvantages.". If I understand those tags correctly, you have Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System#Plain_dm-crypt in mind as an example. Yes, we want a common structured intro for each scenario, but I'd like it better to be just shortly descriptive regarding the scenario content. For example a para introducing the setup, followed by an ascii chart of the disk layout used (as per Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System#Preparing_the_logical_volumes example), followed by another sentence or two max. Remember the core of your scenario idea was to cut verbose in the scenario down as much as possible. A small comparison of the section scenarios may be suitable as the first subpage intro itself, anything more better be linked (pros/cons of disk layouts in Dm-crypt/Drive_Preparation#Partitioning, scenario specific pros/cons of encryption modes in Dm-crypt/Device_Encryption#Encryption_options_with_dm-crypt, general ones should be in: Disk_encryption#Comparison_table anyway, ..). --Indigo (talk) 23:16, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

I added intros on Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System and Dm-crypt/Encrypting_a_non-root_file_system. Is that similar to what you were going for? I really want to emphasize the importance of keeping these introductions concise. It's easy to write about use case after use case, but let's not forget why we refactored Dm-crypt with LUKS in the first place. Even Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System has gotten rather long and disorganized already, but that's a discussion for its own talk page. Dm-crypt has a nice layout so far, and it is definitely more readable than Dm-crypt with LUKS. --User:EscapedNull
@Indigo: I approve 100% what you said: a single, small comparison section is what we need!
@EscapedNull (please remember to sign your edits in talk pages, use ~~~~): I think you're referring to this edit on the dm-crypt page; honestly those intros, despite being very clear and well written, are indeed too long for that page, as you note yourself: the intended size of those intros was like the ones in Dm-crypt#Swap device encryption or Dm-crypt#Specialties, they should just sum up very briefly what's contained in each subpage. I wouldn't like to just throw your work away, I'd rather move it to a more suitable place in some of the existing subpages, what do you reckon?
Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System is still (not "already") "long and disorganized", if you read the discussions above you'll see that it's the result of merging some pre-existing articles, and our goal is indeed slimming it down by moving duplicated content to the other subpages.
-- Kynikos (talk) 15:13, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Maybe they are a little too long for an introduction, but in comparison to what we were dealing with before, I'd say they're pretty succinct. I wrote them with the goal of educating the reader about the different scenarios enough to make a decision, but no more than that. If you'd like to strip them down further, however, I'm completely okay with that.
Re: Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System: You're right. Still long and disorganized is more accurate. I think there are some improvements still to be made (i.e. splitting sections into subpages even further), but I wasn't trying to criticize anyone's decisions about the merge.
About the scenario comparison: that's more or less what I was trying to accomplish with the introductions. Are you just suggesting that we follow the "advantages and disadvantages" bulleted lists format for all scenarios on Dm-crypt, or did you have different semantics in mind? Additionally, User:Indigo mentions adding a paragraph introducing the setup, and an ascii chart of the disk layout. I'd be strongly opposed to including any how-to or step-by-step information on the main Dm-crypt page. That's what the subpages are there for. The main page should serve to inform the reader about what options are available and what strengths and weaknesses each one has, not about the execution of those options. Besides that, I do feel that comparing and contrasting scenarios is highly beneficial, I'm just uncertain as to whether the introductions I wrote are what you had intended.
(Yes, I have been forgetting to sign my edits. That really should be automatic.) EscapedNull (talk) 20:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Uh now I see where the confusion comes from: Indigo and I were discussing about Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System, but instead you understood we were talking about dm-crypt#Common scenarios, and that's why you've put the intros there :) Note the difference between "subpage", "section" and "subsection": subpages have a "/" in the article title, while sections and subsections are indicated by the link fragment ("#").
>>EscapedNull: "The main page should serve to inform the reader about what options are available and what strengths and weaknesses each one has"
We have to be even stricter than that on the main page (dm-crypt): it should only "serve to inform the reader about what options are available"; the "what strengths and weaknesses each one has" part should be described in the subpage.
>>Indigo: "A small comparison of the section scenarios may be suitable as the first subpage intro itself"
He means that a unified comparison section should be put at the top of Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System instead of having comparisons at the start of each section of Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_Entire_System, and that's what I agreed with.
-- Kynikos (talk) 05:48, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Oops. We were talking about different things I guess. Since you moved the intros to the subpages, I see that does make a lot more sense now. I understand the difference between subpages and sections/subsections, but I guess I didn't read the discussion closely enough.
In addition, when User:Indigo said "comparison" I thought he or she meant Encrypting an Entire System versus Encrypting a Non-root Partition. You're saying the suggestion was to compare LUKS on LVM versus LVM on LUKS versus Plain dm-crypt without LUKS? EscapedNull (talk) 15:25, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that was the suggestion he had. Just a small comparison comparing the scenarios (read: examples to employ dm-crypt for specific (not generic) setups) on that page, as Kynikos writes. Great you joined in. Let me add to your above discussion: In September we worked a bit on Disk_encryption to finalise it as the entry point comparing methods. References you wrote in [2] to ecryptfs et al are discussed there. If you feel you can add to it - cool, but generic encryption comparison and references leading away from the dm-crypt subpages are meant to belong there. --Indigo (talk) 21:13, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
+1 for merging those intros to Disk Encryption, e.g. Disk_Encryption#Data_encryption_vs_system_encryption deals with the same subject. -- Kynikos (talk) 08:48, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Troubleshooting section?

In a dm-crypt related talk Javex remarked that we don't feature a troubleshooting section in the new dm-crypt layout and that it may be useful to have one. I am ambivalent about it, because we cover cli-tools from base mainly. Typical handling errors are part of the content and there is always talk per subpage to clarify questions and see whether (and where best) they need to be covered (or the bbs). If a troubleshooting section is deemed useful, I would favor a separate dm-crypt/Troubleshooting for it rather than sections per subpage. Opinions? --Indigo (talk) 11:44, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

I too would prefer a separate Troubleshooting subpage, but only if we had enough material to put there, which doesn't seem to be the case here. I haven't been able to follow the original discussion very closely, but I agree with you that the Specialties page would probably the best place for Javex's note: he could link it from the small introductory section in dm-crypt and from the table in Disk Encryption as was proposed initially, to give it more visibility. At least that's a start that makes everybody happy: if once he's finished we see that the section doesn't really fit in the Specialties page, we're still in time to create a Troubleshooting subpage. -- Kynikos (talk) 09:53, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Fine with me. Let's keep this item open until Javex has considered it (or others too). --Indigo (talk) 19:40, 9 February 2014 (UTC)