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- SGI reports Advanced Linux Environment security update #13, which fixes bugs in mod_python and libxml.
- SCO released a series of patches for OpenLinux, including fixes for bugs in screen, GNUpg, rsync, and tcpdump.
- Debian released a new kernel for its Alpha port that fixes a local root exploit.
- The FreeBSD project announced a patch that fixes a potential denial of service attack. The advisory also includes a few workarounds for the problem.
Tips of the Trade
Back in October, we talked about Cygwin, a Unix programming environment (and accompanying suite of tools) for Windows. For a Unix person lost in Windows-land, Cygwin is a security blanket of sorts.
Before OS X and its FreeBSD underpinnings brought a fairly familiar Unix toolkit to Mac users, no such security blanket was available. But unlike the BSD family or Linux, many of the goodies that often go with those systems weren’t to be found. Since OS X’s release, Apple’s slowly introduced bits of traditional Unix functionality (like a working X11 environment that integrates pretty nicely with the Aqua desktop), and it’s tipped its hat to a few growing Linux influences, like the popularity of the bash shell. But if Apple’s not moving fast enough for you, we’re happy to suggest the fink project, which exists solely to port free and open source software to OS X.
So far, the project claims 3,470 ports ranging from simple applications like agrep, a handy grep replacement, to complete desktop environments like GNOME and KDE.
You might think its sheer lunacy to run GNOME or KDE on top of something as nice as Apple’s hyper-polished user interface, but even if you’re not a fan of open source desktops, there’s no denying that tools like ethereal and nessus are vital parts of many an admin’s toolkit; fink brings those programs to OS X without too many hassle.
Debian users will find fink’s package management tool especially familiar: fink uses apt-get and dpkg as well as its own Fink Commander GUI, which provides a painless way to compile source from the project’s unstable branch.