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Distributions: The big and the small

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Linux

While the community distributions Fedora and Ubuntu, as well as Mandriva, prepare for their spring releases, Novell has been busy completing final adjustments to SUSE Linux Enterprise. Smaller Linux distributions are also doing some spring cleaning and publishing updated versions.

The Ubuntu countdown: This week will see the release of the first beta of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 release (aka Jaunty Jackalope), with the final release expected on the 23rd of April. The next version of Mandriva, Mandriva 2009.1, is scheduled to be released on the 29th of April, following the first release candidate that was made available on the 11th of March. Ubuntu will have support for the Ext4 file system alongside the new 2.6.68 Kernel, however, the default file system will continue to be the proven Ext3. Fedora 11 is expected to be released at the end of May and will use Ext4 as its standard file system. The Fedora team recently announced that the Fedora 11 beta, originally scheduled to be released on the 24th of March, has been delayed an additional week.

The Debian Project has officially signaled the start of the development of Squeeze, the next stable version of Debian.

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Security: Updates, 2017 Linux Security Summit, Software Updates for Embedded Linux and More

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  • The 2017 Linux Security Summit
    The past Thursday and Friday was the 2017 Linux Security Summit, and once again I think it was a great success. A round of thanks to James Morris for leading the effort, the program committee for selecting a solid set of talks (we saw a big increase in submissions this year), the presenters, the attendees, the Linux Foundation, and our sponsor - thank you all! Unfortunately we don't have recordings of the talks, but I've included my notes on each of the presentations below. I've also included links to the slides, but not all of the slides were available at the time of writing; check the LSS 2017 slide archive for updates.
  • Key Considerations for Software Updates for Embedded Linux and IoT
    The Mirai botnet attack that enslaved poorly secured connected embedded devices is yet another tangible example of the importance of security before bringing your embedded devices online. A new strain of Mirai has caused network outages to about a million Deutsche Telekom customers due to poorly secured routers. Many of these embedded devices run a variant of embedded Linux; typically, the distribution size is around 16MB today. Unfortunately, the Linux kernel, although very widely used, is far from immune to critical security vulnerabilities as well. In fact, in a presentation at Linux Security Summit 2016, Kees Cook highlighted two examples of critical security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel: one being present in kernel versions from 2.6.1 all the way to 3.15, the other from 3.4 to 3.14. He also showed that a myriad of high severity vulnerabilities are continuously being found and addressed—more than 30 in his data set.
  • APNIC-sponsored proposal could vastly improve DNS resilience against DDoS

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