Enterprise Unix Roundup — SCO Tries Salesmanship Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted Jun 17, 2004

Main     In Other News     Security Roundup     Tips of the Trade

In Other News

» Red Hat suffered a stock market stumble this week when its CFO bowed out Monday, just three days before the company announced quarterly results. The resulting panic caused the company's share prices to tumble as investors widely guessed the culprit was a case of bad news corporate hara kiri; prices began climbing back up on Wednesday as Red Hat beamed out consoling messages of increased profits and more subscriptions.

» Microsoft, which lately has been griping about devious customers that threaten it with Linux deployments to squeeze it for price cuts, this week confronted two that followed through on their threats. The city of Bergen, Norway announced plans to move 100 schools and 32,000 users away from a mix of HP-UX and Microsoft applications and platforms to Linux by the end of this year. SUSE and HP will be handling the contract.

The city council in Munich, Germany, which voted last year to adopt some sort of migration plan from Microsoft to Linux, confirmed its plans this week as well. The move entails migrating 14,000 desktops and notebooks running Office and a mix of Windows 3.1, NT, 95, and 98 to Linux and OpenOffice.

» Scalix released Scalix 9.0, a Linux-based e-mail and calendaring package.

» Linux will be receiving more support for Infiniband implementations as the OpenIB Alliance, a consortium of InfiniBand companies looking to push the clustering/high availability technology into the open source realm, formed and announced plans to create a common Linux-based Infiniband implementation for release some time this year. Companies behind the consortium include IBM, Sun, Veritas, and Intel.

Security Roundup

  • Subversion, a version control system similar to CVS, was found to have a heap overflow vulnerability that could allow users to run arbitrary code. Numerous distributors have patches out, including Red Hat (1, 2), OpenPKG, and Gentoo.
  • CVS itself also suffers from a vulnerability with the same potential. Patches are out from Debian, Red Hat (1, 2), OpenPKG, and Gentoo. Note that while Mandrake also has a patch out for CVS, it's for a previously reported vulnerability. Not the latest, which was discovered in the process of patching the previous problem.
  • Patches for squid are available from Trustix, Mandrake, SUSE, and Red Hat (1, 2).
  • A crash bug in the Linux kernel was found and widely reported. No patches are out as we go to press. Linuxreviews.org reported the bug and says it effects a number of 2.4 and 2.6 kernel distros from a variety of vendors and distributors. One to keep an eye on, if only because it seems to require no special privileges for users to execute code that can crash the Linux kernel and lock up a server.

Tips of the Trade

The weak spot in most backup schemes is the restore process. While some folks may enjoy the endless soothing whine of a 30-GB tape attempting to locate one little bitty file, we've yet to meet them. And tape is a mondo hassle when doing bare-metal restores, which is often the only option when a server has been compromised.

Mondo Rescue is a versatile, simple-to-use backup and restore utility that will back up to many media: CD-R/RW, hard disk, tape, and DVD-R/RW. It backs up RAID, LVM, and NFS shares. Mondo Rescue is perfect for backing up servers that sit in your DMZ because it is too risky to allow the bits to mingle with the hosts tucked safely away inside the firewall. You can create a "ghost" image of the root filesystem on a bootable CD or DVD, thus preserving all of the patches, updates, and configurations and making rolling back to a known good state is easy as pie.

The first time you create a backup, you can run it interactively with this command:

# mondoarchive 

It can also be completely automated, using cron to schedule backups. Restoring is even easier. Simply boot up your shiny new backup disk, and select one of these options:

  • Interactive, to pick which individual files to restore
  • Nuke, to wipe drives and restore everything, both automatically and unattended
  • Expert, to boot to a shell prompt, and you're on your own

Mondo Rescue can be downloaded here.

Carla Schroder writes the Tips of the Trade section of Enterprise Unix Roundup. She also appears on Crossnodes every Wednesday, and is the author of the site's popular Scripting Clinic, which deals with Unix/Linux scripting issues.

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