ECC Capable NSS

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This document describes the procedure required to build the NSS crypto libraries with ECC capabilities. You'll need this document if you are trying to ECC-enable Dogtag

Note: Please feel free to update this page if you find ways to improve it.

Obtain and Build Standard NSS

You must be familiar with building NSS before attempting these instructions. We recommend building NSS (without ECC capabilities) as a first step to obtain experience with the NSS build system. You can find instructions on how to obtain and build version 3.11.4 of NSS here.

The instructions in that link list special steps to deal with different target OS platforms. Be sure to perform any Linux specific actions if building on Linux.

Build ECC-enabled NSS

To build a version of NSS that can use a third-party ECC PKCS #11 module, perform these steps:

  • If you have already performed a practice standard build of NSS, discard that source tree. Check out a new tree per the NSS build instructions as shown below:
cvs co -r NSPR_4_7_1_RTM mozilla/nsprpub
cvs co -r NSS_3_11_BRANCH mozilla/dbm mozilla/security/dbm mozilla/security/coreconf mozilla/security/nss
  • Make sure that the required ECC environment variables are cleared for now. Failure to do so will result in unwanted compilation errors.
  • Note: Only if performing a 64 bit build, make sure the environment variable USE_64 is enabled:
export USE_64=1
  • Note: If you would like to build an optimized version of NSS set the following environment variable. The default is an un-optimized, debug build:
export BUILD_OPT=1
  • Perform the following build steps:
cd mozilla/security/nss
make build_coreconf # Make the NSS build system tools 
make build_nspr # Make NSPR
make build_dbm  # Make DBM
make export  # Publish all the headers needed by libraries below
cd -
# Make the libraries we want to compile without ECC support
cd mozilla/security/nss/lib/util
make libs
cd -
cd mozilla/security/nss/lib/freebl
make libs
cd -
cd mozilla/security/nss/lib/softoken
make libs
cd -
  • Now make sure to enable the variables NSS_ENABLE_ECC and NSS_ECC_MORE_THAN_SUITE_B in your environment. Failure to do so will result in even more unwanted compiler errors.
  • Edit mozilla/security/nss/lib/ and remove "util freebl softoken" from the make variable DIRS. We don't want the build system recompiling these libraries already done.
  • Edit mozilla/security/nss/cmd/ and remove "bltest" and "fipstest" from the make variable DIRS. We don't want the build system to compile these two test programs with ECC support.
  • Build the rest of NSS with ECC support:
cd mozilla/security/nss
make libs

Retrieve ECC-enabled NSS

After completing the ECC enabled NSS build, you must obtain the files representing NSS. The output of an NSS build is placed in the "mozilla/dist" directory.

For more information about how to install or distribute the NSS build to a desired location see here.

Install the libraries and at least a few of the applications

Dynamic libraries

cd <builddir>/mozilla/dist/*OPT*/lib
install -m 755 -b -t /lib
install -m 644 -b -t /lib libfreebl3.chk
install -m 755 -b -t /usr/lib
install -m 755 -b -t /usr/lib \ \
install -m 644 -b -t /usr/lib libsoftokn3.chk libnssdbm3.chk


cd <builddir>/mozilla/dist/*OPT*/bin
install -m 755 -b -t /usr/bin certutil modutil cmsutil crlutil \
pk12util signtool [others TBD]

Other notes

This section is a work in progress and is the result of mostly stumbling against the /bin/login issue to the point of having to re-image a Fedora test system from scratch.

To test you've built this correctly, once you do the first of the install steps - that for - do

ldd /bin/login

If this succeeds, you've probably built this correctly and won't lock yourself out of your system. If this fails, you can revert to the backup copy of the library - /lib/ - that was created by the -b argument to install.