HardenedBSD Switching Back to OpenSSL

Over a year ago, HardenedBSD switched to LibreSSL as the default cryptographic library in base for 12-CURRENT. 11-STABLE followed suit later on. Bernard Spil has done an excellent job at keeping our users up-to-date with the latest security patches from LibreSSL.

After recently updating 12-CURRENT to LibreSSL 2.7.2 from 2.6.4, it has become increasingly clear to us that performing major upgrades requires a team larger than a single person. Upgrading to 2.7.2 caused a lot of fallout in our ports tree. As of 28 Apr 2018, several ports we consider high priority are still broken. As it stands right now, it would take Bernard a significant amount of his spare personal time to fix these issues.

Until we have a multi-person team dedicated to maintaining LibreSSL in base along with the patches required in ports, HardenedBSD will use OpenSSL going forward as the default crypographic library in base. LibreSSL will co-exist with OpenSSL in the source tree, as it does now. However, MK_LIBRESSL will default to "no" instead of the current "yes". Bernard will continue maintaining LibreSSL in base along with addressing the various problematic ports entries.

To provide our users with ample time to plan and perform updates, we will wait a period of two months prior to making the switch. The switch will occur on 01 Jul 2018 and will be performed simultaneously in 12-CURRENT and 11-STABLE. HardenedBSD will archive a copy of the LibreSSL-centric package repositories and binary updates for base for a period of six months after the switch (expiring the package repos on 01 Jan 2019). This essentially gives our users eight full months for an upgrade path.

As part of the switch back to OpenSSL, the default NTP daemon in base will switch back from OpenNTPd to ISC NTP. Users who have local_openntpd_enable="YES" set in rc.conf will need to switch back to ntpd_enable="YES".

Users who build base from source will want to fully clean their object directories. Any and all packages that link with libcrypto or libssl will need to be rebuilt or reinstalled.

With the community's help, we look forward to the day when we can make the switch back to LibreSSL. We at HardenedBSD believe that providing our users options to rid themselves of software monocultures can better increase security and manage risk.