confirmation that debian #480041 is a gnutls problem, and steps to reproduce

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at
Fri Nov 21 01:02:30 CET 2008

OK, i'm now sure that debian #480041 is a gnutls problem, and not just
due to something wacky in libneon (though there may be libneon bits as
well).  Here's a way to duplicate the problem without using libneon.

Add the following line to /etc/hosts:

Generate an X.509 self-signed key/cert pair (or use an existing
key/cert pair -- it doesn't have to be self-signed):

  mkdir /tmp/testing && cd /tmp/testing
  openssl req -newkey rsa:1024 -keyout key.pem -nodes -subj '/' -x509 > cert.pem

Configure an apache2 virtualhost like this:

DocumentRoot /var/www/

SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /tmp/testing/cert.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /tmp/testing/key.pem
SSLCACertificateFile /tmp/testing/cert.pem

<Location "/">
 SSLVerifyClient optional


Then run the following command to simulate a web connection:

HTTP_QUERY='GET / http/1.1\r\nHost:\r\n\r\n'
(sleep 3 && echo -e "$HTTP_QUERY" && sleep 3) | gnutls-cli

The tail of the output looks like this for me:

- Peer's certificate issuer is unknown
- Peer's certificate is NOT trusted
- Version: TLS1.0
- Key Exchange: DHE-RSA
- Cipher: AES-128-CBC
- Compression: NULL
- Handshake was completed

- Simple Client Mode:

*** Non fatal error: Rehandshake was requested by the peer.
*** Fatal error: A TLS fatal alert has been received.
*** Received alert [10]: Unexpected message
*** Server has terminated the connection abnormally.

The apache2 error log looks like:

[Thu Nov 20 18:55:30 2008] [error] Re-negotiation handshake failed: Not accepted by client!?

Interestingly, if i don't wrap the "SSLVerifyClient optional" line in
the <Location /> tag, the connection goes through cleanly.  I think
this means that the problem appears when the handshake is
re-negotiated after some traffic has already been sent.

Hope this is helpful in debugging the problem.

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