Python CSC Electronic Office
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Build Status

CEO (CSC Electronic Office) is the tool used by CSC to manage club accounts and memberships. See docs/ for an overview of its architecture.

The API documentation is available as a plain HTML file in docs/redoc-static.html.



If you are not modifying code related to email or Mailman, then you may use Docker containers instead, which are much easier to work with than the VM.

First, make sure you create the virtualenv:

docker run --rm -v "$PWD:$PWD" -w "$PWD" -u $(id -u):$(id -g) python:3.7-buster \
    sh -c 'python -m venv venv && . venv/bin/activate && pip install -r requirements.txt -r dev-requirements.txt'

Then bring up the containers:

docker-compose up -d  # or without -d to run in the foreground

This will create some containers with the bare minimum necessary for ceod to run, and start ceod on each of phosphoric-acid, mail, and coffee container. You can check the containers status using:

docker-compose logs -f

To use ceo, run the following:

docker-compose exec phosphoric-acid bash
su ctdalek
. venv/bin/activate
python -m ceo  # the password is krb5

This should bring up the TUI.

Normally, ceod should autoamtically restart when the source files are changed. To manually restart the service, run:

docker-compose kill -s SIGHUP phosphoric-acid

To stop the containers, run:

docker-compose down

Alternatively, if you started docker-compose in the foreground, just press Ctrl-C.


If you need the full environment running in VM, follow the guide on syscom dev environment. This will setup all of the services needed for ceo to work. You should clone this repo in the phosphoric-acid container under ctdalek's home directory; you will then be able to access it from any container thanks to NFS.

Once you have the dev environment setup, there are a few more steps you'll need to do for ceo.

Kerberos principals

First, you'll need ceod/<hostname> principals for each of phosphoric-acid, coffee and mail. (coffee is taking over the role of caffeine for the DB endpoints). For example, in the phosphoric-acid container:

kadmin -p sysadmin/admin
<password is krb5>
addprinc -randkey ceod/phosphoric-acid.csclub.internal
ktadd ceod/phosphoric-acid.csclub.internal

Do this for coffee and mail as well. You need to actually be in the appropriate container when running these commands, since the credentials are being added to the local keytab. On phosphoric-acid, you will additionally need to create a principal called ceod/admin (remember to addprinc and ktadd).


Note: The instructions below apply to the dev environment only; in production, the DB superusers should be restricted to the host where the DB is running.

Attach to the coffee container, run mysql, and run the following:


(In prod, the superuser should have '@localhost' appended to its name.)

Now open /etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf and comment out the following line:

bind-address =

Then restart MariaDB:

systemctl restart mariadb

Install PostgreSQL in the container:

apt install -y postgresql

Modify the superuser postgres for password authentication and restrict new users:

su postgres

ALTER USER postgres WITH PASSWORD 'postgres';
GRANT ALL ON SCHEMA public TO postgres;

Create a new pg_hba.conf:

cd /etc/postgresql/<version>/<branch>/
mv pg_hba.conf pg_hba.conf.old
# new pg_hba.conf
# TYPE  DATABASE        USER            ADDRESS                 METHOD
local   all             postgres                                peer
host    all             postgres               md5

local   all             all                                     peer
host    all             all             localhost               md5

local   sameuser        all                                     peer
host    sameuser        all                  md5

Warning: in prod, the postgres user should only be allowed to connect locally, so the relevant snippet in pg_hba.conf should look something like

local   all             postgres                                md5
host    all             postgres        localhost               md5
host    all             postgres               reject
host    all             postgres        ::/0                    reject

Add the following to postgresql.conf:

listen_addresses = '*'

Now restart PostgreSQL:

systemctl restart postgresql

In prod, users can login remotely but superusers (postgres and mysql) are only allowed to login from the database host.


You should create the following mailing lists from the mail container:

/opt/mailman3/bin/mailman create syscom@csclub.internal
/opt/mailman3/bin/mailman create syscom-alerts@csclub.internal
/opt/mailman3/bin/mailman create exec@csclub.internal
/opt/mailman3/bin/mailman create ceo@csclub.internal

See for instructions on how to access the Mailman UI from your browser.

If you want to actually see the archived messages, you'll need to tweak the settings for each list from the UI so that non-member messages get accepted (by default they get held).


Next, install and activate a virtualenv:

sudo apt install libkrb5-dev libpq-dev python3-dev
python3 -m venv venv
. venv/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements.txt
pip install -r dev-requirements.txt

Running the application

ceod is a distributed application, with instances on different hosts offering different services. Therefore, you will need to run ceod on multiple hosts. Currently, those are phosphoric-acid, mail and caffeine (in the dev environment, caffeine is replaced by coffee).

To run ceod on a single host (as root, since the app needs to read the keytab):

export FLASK_APP=ceod.api
export FLASK_ENV=development
flask run -h -p 9987

Sometimes changes you make in the source code don't show up while Flask is running. Stop the flask app (Ctrl-C), run, then restart the app.

Interacting with the application

To use the TUI:

python -m ceo

To use the CLI:

python -m ceo --help

Alternatively, you may use curl to send HTTP requests.

ceod uses SPNEGO for authentication, and TLS for confidentiality and integrity. In development mode, TLS can be disabled.

First, make sure that your version of curl has been compiled with SPNEGO support:

curl -V

Your should see 'SPNEGO' in the 'Features' section.

Here's an example of making a request to an endpoint which writes to LDAP:

# Get a Kerberos TGT first
# Make the request
curl --negotiate -u : --service-name ceod --delegation always \
    -d '{"uid":"test_1","cn":"Test One","given_name":"Test","sn":"One","program":"Math","terms":["s2021"]}' \
    -X POST http://phosphoric-acid:9987/api/members


First, I strongly recommend running the build in a Docker/Podman container to avoid screwing up your main system:

podman run -it --name pyceo-packaging -v "$PWD":"$PWD" -w "$PWD" debian:buster bash

Important: Make sure to use a container image for the same distribution which you're packaging. For example, if you're creating a package for bullseye, you should be using the debian:bullseye Docker image (this is because the virtualenv symlinks python to the OS' version of python).

Here are some of the prerequisites you'll need to build the deb files:

apt install devscripts debhelper git-buildpackage

Make sure to also install all of the packages in the 'Build-Depends' section in debian/control.

There are two important files to change before creating a new package: debian/changelog (which can be edited by running dch -i), and VERSION.txt.

Make sure you git commit your changes before building the packages.

To build unsigned packages:

gbp buildpackage --git-upstream-branch=master -uc -us

To build signed packages (for uploading), you need to have your GPG key ready, and it should also be in the CSC mirror keyring. Once you have done that, replace '-uc -us' by '-k<your_gpg_key_id>', e.g.

gbp buildpackage --git-upstream-branch=master -k8E5568ABB0CF96BC367806ED127923BE10DA48DC

This will create a bunch of files (deb, dsc, tar.gz, etc.) in the parent directory.

To clean the packages:

rm ../*.{xz,gz,dsc,build,buildinfo,changes,deb}


Ask a syscom member for their dupload.conf file, and place it in your ~/.dupload.conf. Then, from a CSC machine, upload the changes file from the parent directory, e.g.

dupload ceo_1.0.0-buster1_amd64.changes