Enterprise Unix Roundup: Selling Wall Street on Sun Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted Sep 23, 2004

Main     In Other News     Security Roundup     Tips of the Trade

In Other News

» The Evolution project released Evolution 2.0, the Linux/Unix Outlook-like mail and calendaring program built around GNOME desktop components. The new release features enhanced junk filtering, support for NNTP (the Usenet protocol), and a new approach to calendar and addressbook information that makes it available systemwide instead of requiring the Evolution client.

» Upcoming features in the next version of the Mono project, slated for arrival next March, will include support for Visual Basic .NET and WinForms. Mono is meant to provide Linux and Unix developers with a .NET-compatible set of libraries against which they can create platform-neutral applications. The new features will change the game a little, allowing Visual Basic developers to run applications from a Linux or Unix server.

» Red Hat reported strong earnings on Tuesday but took a hit in the stock market when it missed revenue estimates: The company claimed $46.3 million in earnings, but analysts had predicted revenue of $47.5 million. Retail sales dropped from $4 million to $561,000 in the wake of Red Hat's much-discussed departure from the shrink-wrap business and its decision to back the Fedora project for users disinterested in its higher-end enterprise offerings. The drop in retail revenue was more than offset by enterprise software subscription revenue growing from $14 million to $34 million.

The company's still a little wobbly in the wake of its CFO's resignation and SEC run-in earlier this year: It isn't giving out earning projections, citing its new CFO's inexperience with the company. Red Hat's analyst day will be held in New York on September 30.

» We'll admit our pulse quickened a little earlier in the week when we read that Sun was interested in acquiring a Linux company. "Maybe," we thought, "this is the hammer strike against IBM that Jonathan Schwartz had been intimating weeks back." Nope: The company in question was MontaVista, an embedded Linux company with strengths in the carrier-grade space. And as far as the potential deal, that gets a "nope," too: It sounds like MontaVista may have held out.

» Too late to make it into last week's edition, Mandrake announced the release of Mandrake Linux 10.1. The company has also announced the end-of-life for Mandrake Linux 9.1 will be September 25.

Security Roundup

  • Several distributions have fixes out for CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System, including: Gentoo, Mandrake, Debian, and SUSE.
  • Another print-subsystem-based vulnerability has manifested in the foomatic package, with patches in from Fedora and Gentoo.
  • Webmin, the Web-based system administration/configuration tool, has a vulnerability based on bad permissions that could allow a malicious user to place arbitrary files in a tmp directory. Fixes are in from Mandrake, Debian, and Gentoo.

Tips of the Trade

FTP, by its nature, is not secure. It's a holdover from the early, innocent beginnings of the Internet, when it was a smaller and friendlier place to be. Running an FTP server presents two challenges: keeping unwanted visitors out of system files, and securely transmitting logins and data. Most FTP servers are insecure at the system and the transport levels — they are easy to compromise, and they send all traffic in cleartext. vsftpd, the "very secure file transfer protocol daemon," cures both of these deficiencies.

If you're running a public, anonymous FTP server, you don't care about securing data transport. But you do care about protecting your server from being compromised. The last thing you want is to become an unwitting host for gigabytes of mp3s and pr0n, or have intruders roaming freely around your server. vsftpd prevents this by running in a chroot jail under a non-privileged user. If it is somehow compromised, system files are protected and damage is limited to the chroot jail.

For users who desire encrypted user authentication and data transport, vsftpd integrates with OpenSSL. vsftpd is also fast, easy to configure, robust, and stable. Visit vsftpd.org to learn more.

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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