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From "Mikhail T." <>
Subject Fixing apr_dbd_freetds (Re: Limitations of mod_dbd - single server per vhost)
Date Wed, 22 Aug 2012 16:26:46 GMT
Perhaps, this discussion should be happening on theticket  <>
 itself? Oh, well :) Comments inline:

On 22.08.2012 10:47, Nick Kew wrote:
> I think I've pointed a few people at the ODBC driver as an alternative.
> Do you have a strong reason to use FreeTDS rather than ODBC?
Yes, ODBC is yet another layer of abstraction. I'd understand, if apr_dbd.c used 
purely ODBC, leaving the ODBC implementation to deal with the backends' native 
drivers. But if apr_dbd offers "native" drivers of its own, better to use those, 
if possible. That's my "strong" reason :-)
> One question here may be, does anyone have the platforms to test-drive
> your patch?
I would not know... But, in my opinion, even without getting tested by anyone 
else, my patch is still a vast improvement over the current situation...
> It seems to do rather more than just fix a simple bug:
That's because the "bug" was not simple -- the driver remained broken ever since 
the apr_dbd.c was changed to do the parsing of query-templates centrally instead 
of delegating the job to each driver. Other drivers got updated back then, but 
not the FreeTDS one :-( It still tried to do its own parsing, and was failing...
> you've removed the untainting code which was part of protecting against
> injection attacks.
I don't think, the untainting was ever properly implemented (you can't do it 
right without prepared statements) and I don't believe, it is the driver's job 
to do it anyway. None of the other drivers do it either -- though they rely on 
the respective client-libraries. Sybase/FreeTDS client does not offer such 
checks -- so be it... The untainting was costly (done for each call) and not 
guaranteed -- better to leave it to the caller, IMHO.
> Have you implemented prepared statements properly for all backends?
To the best of my knowledge, neither the Sybase's db-client library nor the 
FreeTDS reimplementation of it offer prepared statements 
<>, unfortunately. 
The current implementation certainly does not use them. Sybase offers a newer 
client interface (ct-lib), that does have prepared statements (see ct_dynamic() 

but FreeTDS does not provide it, so, for the driver to be compatible with both, 
it has to use the old db-interface... To me this seems like an acceptable 
caveat, as long as it is known and documented.

My patch does not touch any of the other backends.

Perhaps, some day I (or someone else) will implement apr_dbd_sybase.c -- using 
the ct-interface, which would give prepared statements and other improvements. 
But that would have to be maintained outside of Apache, because, foolishly, 
Sybase would not open-source the client... It would also be Sybase-only (no MS 
SQL Server).

For the time being, my patch offers a major improvement over the status quo -- 
the driver becomes usable. I am, in fact, preparing to use it with RewriteMaps 
to do SEO for a giant site, that still uses an old Sybase-backed CMS. The 
RewriteRules will ensure, no tainted keys are passed to the queries and the 
DB-user's credentials will be limited to only SELECTs and only for a particular 
table to mitigate the risk of any SQL-injection attack.



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