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News and Editorials

Fedora's legacy changes

August 9, 2006

This article was contributed by Jake Edge.

With the release of Fedora Core (FC) 6 Test 2, the Fedora project has stopped supporting FC4 and passed the baton to the Fedora Legacy project. This is as expected, but another announcement may come as a bit of a surprise. Fedora Legacy has dropped support for FC1 and FC2 and will be dropping support for Red Hat (RH) 7.3 and RH9 at the end of the year.

The Fedora Legacy project was established to backport critical security fixes to FC releases that had reached end of life so that admins did not have to upgrade on the fairly short time scales (roughly one year) that Fedora would support those releases. When the project was established, it was also providing security updates for various RH releases. After 31 December, the last two RH releases will drop off the list and Fedora Legacy will just be supporting FC3 and FC4.

That change potentially leaves many systems without a way to get security patches and will require admins to either upgrade or backport fixes on their own. It would appear that this situation is actually nothing new; the Fedora Legacy project has been slow to patch security issues with all of the releases they have supported. For example, the most recent RH7.3 patches are from 6 June and there have been several recent security issues that are presumably unpatched.

It is not just the older releases that are impacted by this, FC3 has kernel version 2.6.12 in the legacy updates, but there have been quite a few 2.6 kernel releases, some of them for security problems, that are not available for FC3. The recent Apache web server vulnerability is another that remains unpatched for any of the legacy releases.

Where does this leave users of FC4? Given the track record, it is hard to believe that Fedora Legacy will be quickly patching security issues as they arise in that distribution. Upgrading to FC5 would seem the best option for admins who do not want to maintain patches for themselves. Of course, FC5 will be moving to Legacy support in roughly six months.

Fedora Legacy is a great idea, but appears to suffer from a lack of participation from the community. Without timely updates for critical bugs, the entire FC distribution series would seem to be at risk. Yearly upgrades of systems, particularly servers, is just not possible for many admins. This could easily turn into the Achilles' heel for Fedora Core.

Comments (12 posted)

New Releases

Ark Linux 2006.1 released

The Ark Linux team has announced the immediate availability of Ark Linux 2006.1 and Ark Linux Live 2006.1. "There have been numerous changes since the last release. Highlights include KDE 3.5.4, the current version of X.Org and amaroK 1.4.1, and a new tool, "rpmhandler", that makes installing 3rd party packages easier than ever -- and we've fixed numerous bugs, especially in the Live version."

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Freespire 1.0 released

Linspire has announced the release of "Freespire 1.0," a Linux distribution which, by virtue of including no end of proprietary drivers and applications, is not exactly free. "Freespire 1.0 offers users the ability to choose what software they want installed on their computer, with no limitations or restrictions placed on that choice. By including 3rd-party proprietary drivers, codecs and applications software, Freespire is able to provide better out-of-the-box hardware, file type and multimedia support, such as MP3, Windows Media, Real, QuickTime, Java, Flash, ATI, nVidia, fonts, WiFi, and modems."

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Fedora Core 6 Test 2

The second Fedora Core 6 test release is now available, click below for the details and a discussion of the evils of software patents. The updated schedule now calls for a Test 3 release on September 11, and a final FC6 on October 9.

There has been no notice to this effect (yet), but the FC6t2 release is also the expected cut-off point for Fedora Core 4 support.

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LinuxFromScratch 6.2 released

The LinuxFromScratch Team has announced the release of LFS-6.2. The LFS LiveCD x86-6.2-1 is also available although UK users should be aware of a bug in the British keymap.

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64 Studio 0.9.1 'Toe Rag Update'

64 Studio has released a second beta of its Toe Rag release, now with an i386 version available.

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Distribution News

Debian GNU/Linux adopted in the Extremadura

The councillor for Infrastructure and Technological Development has announced that within one year all the computers of the Junta of Extremadura (government of the autonomous region of Extremadura, Spain) will run Free Software office tools and gnuLinEx, the local flavour of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1.

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Debian Python transition status

Matthias Klose reports on the status of the Debian Python transition. Python 2.4 is in testing and will soon become the default version for etch.

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etch release update: freeze, RC Bug count, python, toolchain

Here's the latest release update for Debian etch, with a look at the freeze, the RC bug count the Python transition and more.

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MiniDebconf Colombia 2006

The first Colombian Mini-DebConf will be held at Popayan, Cauca, on August 19 and 20, 2006. ".It will be a space where the people of the Debian community of Colombia could meet together and work around the project. We'll have talks, hacklabs, some "free"-time for BSP, packaging or any other debian-related activity, and of course, recreation time, like a trip around the city in Chiva, a typical bus of the country."

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Debian dak now supports ~ in version numbers

dak, the Debian archive management software, finally supports the use of the tilde ('~') in version numbers. "Given that dpkg has supported ~ in version numbers since before sarge, APT treats them fine, BTS and PTS play along, linda is aware of them, lintian will soon be (#381965), devscripts handles them as it should, and dput works..."

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Fedora usability is born

The Fedora Usability project has been announced. The project aims to provide coherence and accessibility for all people using Fedora Core and its associated resources.

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Fedora Core 4 Transferred to Fedora Legacy

Maintenance of Fedora Core 4 has been transfered to the Fedora Legacy project. Fedora Legacy has previously announced an end-of-life for Fedora Core 1 and 2, and Red Hat Linux 7.3 and 9.

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Gentoo Linux celebrates third Bugday Anniversary - with a living penguin

Gentoo Linux is celebrating the third anniversary of its Bugday initiative on Saturday, August 5, with a number of contests and prizes. "A devoted Gentoo member sponsored a one-year adoption of a Chilean penguin under the care of the International Penguin Conservation Work Group. The winner not only gets to name the bird, but he (or she) will also receive information and pictures on a regular basis."

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New Distributions


Dreamlinux comes from Brazil and aims to be a light, modern and functional free OS that runs as a live CD or installed to a hard drive. Dreamlinux Works edition includes plenty of desktop applications. The XGL Edition is still in the experimental stage and it provides additional eye candy for people with Nvidia cards. It comes with the XFCE desktop environment. The MkDistro tool is included to help people create their own specialized distribution. (Thanks to Leonardo)

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Sectoo Linux

Sectoo Linux is a live CD based on Gentoo, with tools related to network security. It does port scanning, packet sniffing, OS fingerprinting, intrusion detection, and much more. A pre-alpha version was released August 4, 2006.

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Linux router distro available as bootable CF image (LinuxDevices)

LinuxDevices introduces the ZeroShell Net Services distribution. "Italian developer Fulvio Ricciardi has produced a GPL-licensed x86 Linux router distribution available as a live CD or bootable CompactFlash (512MB) image. The ZeroShell Net Services distribution includes a Web-based configuration interface, and can provide "the main network services a LAN requires," Ricciardi says."

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Distribution Newsletters

Debian Weekly News

The Debian Weekly News for August 8, 2006 looks at erroneous search results in the Pike package (and others), new SPI Board Officers elected, Debian Architectures Statistics, a new Information Media for users, Bits from the Stable Release Team, Debian adopted in the Extremadura, and several other topics.

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Fedora Weekly News Issue 58

This edition of the Fedora Weekly News covers wiki outages, the updated Fedora Core 6 Schedule, a Red Hat Survey for the Fedora Community, no country orders for OLPC laptops, What Is Fedora's Prime Directive?, Fedora wants to draw in women, and several other topics.

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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter

The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for August 7, 2006 covers the Adopt a developer project, PowerPC CELL support, PDA/KDE/Ruby recruiting, and several other topics.

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Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue #8

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter covering July 23 - August 5, 2006 is out. This edition covers the Behind Ubuntu interview with Jani Monoses, The Fridge, plugged in again and humming along, California sees an Ubuntu billboard, Ubuntu wins on security, Ubuntu article featured on Wikipedia, Educating on Ubuntu: The Ubuntu Classroom launches and The MOTU School teaches bugs and patching, An update on Google Summer of Code, and more.

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DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 163

The DistroWatch Weekly for August 7, 2006 is out. "The Linux world is starting to heat up again after a brief break - following the first beta release of Mandriva 2007 and KDE 3.5.4 last week, a new test release of Fedora Core 6 will be out today and the third alpha build of openSUSE should appear on the download mirrors on Thursday. Besides the usual news round-up, a short article takes a look at the current status of Linux in the countries and territories of the South Pacific. Finally, with this being the first issue of DistroWatch Weekly of the new month, we are pleased to announce that the July 2006 DistroWatch donation of US$500 goes to the Blender Foundation."

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Package updates

Fedora updates

Updates for Fedora Core 5: gnome-icon-theme (bug fix), gimp (bug fix), sed (bug fix), ftp (bug fix), ypbind (bug fix), pam (rebuild for FC5 - ainit back), mtools (bug fix).

Updates for Fedora Core 4: sed (bug fix).

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rPath updates

Updates for rPath Linux 1: conary, conary-build, conary-repository (Conary 1.0.26 maintenance release), PIL (works with freetype), vconfig (move to /sbin), vsftpd (depend on the "nobody" user), conary, conary-build, conary-repository (Conary 1.0.27 maintenance release).

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Slackware updates

There have been many changes to Slackware-current this week. Bugs fixed, packages upgraded, and so on. KDE 3.5.4 is in, as is Firefox and Seamonkey 1.0.4. The linux- kernel packages are in testing. See the change log for complete details.

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Trustix update

Various bugs have been fixed in cpplus, perl-dbd-mysql and perl-dbd-pg for TSL 2.2 & 3.0.

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Ubuntu updates

Updates for Ubuntu 6.06: ia32-libs-gtk 16.1, nautilus 2.14.3-0ubuntu1, gnome-screensaver 2.14.3-0ubuntu1, kubuntu-docs 6.06-12, cupsys 1.2.2-0ubuntu0.6.06, language-selector, base-files 3.1.9ubuntu7.1, 2.0.3-4dapper2, ubiquity 1.0.15, 2.0.3-4dapper2-1, pango1.0 1.12.3-0ubuntu2, gst-plugins-base0.10 0.10.7-0ubuntu5, language-pack-gnome-es-base 1:6.06+20060725.1, language-pack-es-base 1:6.06+20060725.1, language-pack-kde-es-base 1:6.06+20060725.1, ubuntu-meta 0.120, pango1.0 1.12.3-0ubuntu3, ia32-libs-gtk 16.2, app-install-data-commercial 5, matplotlib 0.82-5ubuntu2.1, ubiquity 1.0.16, gfxboot-theme-ubuntu 0.1.27, kubuntu-meta 0.86, edubuntu-meta 0.81, ubiquity 1.0.17, debian-installer-utils 1.22ubuntu10, debian-installer 20051026ubuntu36.6.

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Newsletters and articles of interest

Building a Desktop Firewall (O'ReillyNet)

Dru Lavigne covers a quick firewall for your FreeBSD system. "Everyone knows that you should be behind a firewall whenever you go online. However, not everyone knows that it's easy to create a personal firewall for a FreeBSD (or PC-BSD or DesktopBSD) system. This article shows how even a casual home user can get a firewall up and running in about ten minutes. Like all of the BSDs, FreeBSD has always been security conscious. It offers several built-in firewalls to choose from: ipfw, ipf, and pf. I use pf because it is built into all of the BSDs, including OpenBSD, NetBSD, and DragonFly BSD."

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Novell removes proprietary software from its Linux distribution ( covers Novell's new policy of removing proprietary software from its Linux distributions. "This is to prevent any legal hassles for their users and corporate customers. The company recently launched SuSE Linux Enterprise 10 server and desktop under the GNU General Public License and they are prohibiting Linux distributors from shipping the open-source operating system with proprietary software that hooks to the Linux kernel. These applications usually are proprietary drivers used to run video cards, sound cards, printers or other devices."

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Distribution reviews

PCLinuxOS 0.93a MiniMe (TuxMachines)

TuxMachines reviews PCLinuxOS 0.93a MiniMe. "New graphics, a great new kernel, and lots and lots of updates equal a wonderful offering. The first new aspect noticed is the boot screen. PCLinuxOS now uses grub to feature many new boot options. One of these is the copy2ram feature where it copies the cd to memory and runs from there. You can pull the cd out of the drive and continue to use the computer. It runs very fast from memory because it doen't have to access the cd anymore."

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Page editor: Rebecca Sobol
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