Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Distributions page.
Lists of Distributions
Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
News and EditorialsAs you'll notice below, news from the various distributions was hard to come by this week. As a result, we took the time to search the Freshmeat appindex for some of the distributions there that were not yet on our list. Enjoy!
Debian 2.2 (Kurt's Closet). Kurt Seifried at SecurityPortal.com took a look at Debian 2.2 this week and wasn't very happy with what he found, from a security perspective. Some of his concerns hinged on finding older versions of packages that, he presumed, still contained security holes. Kurt was unaware that Debian will frequently backport security patches to older versions of software, rather than automatically upgrade to a new version, in order to avoid unrelated bugs that may have been introduced in the latest version. This policy surprised him, but it is not unique to Debian.
Earlier this year, when a security bug was found in the latest kernel (at that time), Linux 2.2.16, a patch was immediately released against 2.2.16. Some distributions immediately released updated 2.2.16 packages (including Red Hat). Others, including SuSE and Caldera, chose to backport and test the patches against older versions of the 2.2.X series. Their reasoning? The 2.2.16 kernel had just been released and they were not comfortable enough that it was well-tested and stable to wish to recommend it to their customers. Yet, they knew a fix for the security problem needed to be made available as soon as possible.
Debian's choice is, therefore, common among distributions that prefer a more conservative approach to new packages. On the other hand, it is understandably confusing to people unaccustomed to it. How can you easily tell whether or not a distribution has been patched to fix a given problem? Apparently, the answer is "you can't", at least not easily. Security resources such as SecurityPortal, SecurityFocus, LinuxSecurity.com and our own LWN Security Summary exist partially to try and make that difficult process a little easier.
minilinux. Not new, but new to our list, minilinux is a small, special purpose Linux distribution aimed at Ham Radio/Packet Radio enthusiasts. (Thanks to Michael Derek Barnett).
Leetnux - the 'elite' Linux distribution.
With a very similar purpose, Leetnux is perhaps
best described using the author's own words:
The name "Leetnux" derives from the two words "elite" and
"Linux". "elite" is often written as eleet, in the script kiddy scene
also forms like leet, 31337 or 1337 are common. I mixed the two words
"leet" and "Linux" to get the word "Leetnux", an "Elite Linux". :-)
The name "Leetnux" derives from the two words "elite" and "Linux". "elite" is often written as eleet, in the script kiddy scene also forms like leet, 31337 or 1337 are common. I mixed the two words "leet" and "Linux" to get the word "Leetnux", an "Elite Linux". :-)
Linux/Coldfire. Linux/Coldfire is dedicated to supporting the port of uCLinux to the Motorola Coldfire processor. "The whole environment, kernel and applications, seems very stable. Networking (Ethernet, PPP, etc) is working really well, and appears to be stable and reliable. Things like IP-masquerading and Dial-on-demand work. There is also a port of the FreeS/WAN IPsec implementation to uClinux/ColdFire now!" [From Freshmeat].
Rabid Squirrel Linux. Continuing the theme, which seems to be popular among Console/OS additions to Freshmeat, Rabid Squirrel Linux is aimed at "power users and administrators" who want to do things the "old-fashioned" way, that is, through compiling source rather than through any new-fangled software tool. In addition, Rabid Squirrel is particularly aimed at server systems.
DukeOfURL reviews Storm Linux 2000. Stormix Technologies' Debian-based Storm Linux 2000 is reviewed by the DukeOfURL. "That's right, Storm is setting out to make Debian better! In fact, in many ways Storm has improved Debian, but has also commercialized it simultaneously... "
Review: Abit Gentus Linux 3.0a (DukeOfUrl). The Duke of Url reviews Abit Gentus Linux 3.0a. "Due to big problems with Gentus and the GPL, Abit removed PerMon from their suite of tools included. It's sad to see PerMon go, but thankfully, Abit CC has replaced it, and now works on all Linux distributions that run on the Red Hat code base. I wonder if the source is available? I doubt it, since this piece of work is a valuable commodity in the Linux community."
General Purpose Distributions
Debian Weekly News. This week's Debian Weekly News reports a glitch that may prevent the implementation of the new testing tree, at least in the short term. Other stories include naming problems with the Debian Helix Gnome packages, problems with the Debian bug tracking website and the role of Debian in the return of a stolen laptop.
Please note that our Debian coverage in last week's Distributions Summary contained an error. It implied that the new Debian testing tree was already in existence, while, instead, it is only in the process of being discussed and coded.
In a related topic, IndyBox announced the availability of Debian GNU/Linux on its RS2200 server line.
Red Hat Wins Industry Awards. Red Hat proudly announced that Red Hat Linux 6.2 was named "Editor's Choice - First Place" for server distribution in the September 2000 issue of Linux Magazine and "Best Distribution" for the third straight year at the recent LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Jose, CA, USA.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
August 31, 2000