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01.24.14

Debian Receives Prize from Valve But Becomes More Dependent on Red Hat

Posted in Debian, Red Hat, Security at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Debian is leaning towards systemd, which is developed by Red Hat (an NSA partner)

DEBIAN has got somewhat of a trophy now that Valve uses Debian GNU/Linux by default. It receives gratis proprietary games in return [1,2,3].

Debian recently made a lot of headlines because of the init debate [4-12]; Debian, being a dominant distribution (competing only with RHEL/CentOS for the #1 spot), is seemingly leaning in Red Hat’s direction and it is winning support from those whom Fedora let down [13]. As Sam Varghese put it, this “means that the future direction of Linux development will be determined by Red Hat, the company that is behind systemd, and the biggest commercial entity in the Linux game.”

It might actually be more beneficial to have Debian as the flag bearer, not Red Hat, which is working with the NSA. Debian has reported its share of flaws recently [14,18], but the problem is that by inheriting more code from Red Hat it is becoming more dependent on a company which admits (to me personally) that it sends to Linux patches that the NSA writes (not just SELinux) because the NSA is a major customer. We already know that the NSA wanted back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4], e.g. through weak random number generators. Given what happened in RSA, NIST, etc. we found it rather hard to blindly trust RHEL, especially the binary build (Red Hat staff has admitted to me that they don’t do a thorough audit of the build process). If Debian gets compromised, the same problem gets inherited by Ubuntu and its derivatives.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Valve Wants To Give You All Of Its Games On Steam (If You’re A Debian Linux Developer)
  2. Valve games for Debian Developers

    At $dayjob for Collabora, we’ve been working with Valve on SteamOS, which is based on Debian. Valve are keen to contribute back to the community, and I’m discussing a couple of ways that they may be able to do that [0].

  3. Valve Is Making All Their Games Free To Debian Developers

    Valve will be making all of their games — past, present, and future — available for free to Debian Linux developers.

  4. The Six Stages of systemd [linux.conf.au 2014]
  5. To Systemd Or Not To Systemd. That Is The Question
  6. Init wars: Shuttleworth’s copyright licensing hangs over debate

    As the debate on the default init system for the next Debian release winds down, one fact emerges: the copyright licensing model adopted by Canonical has been a decisive factor in the choice made by the technical committee.

  7. Which init system for Debian?

    The Debian project is no stranger to long, vehemently argued email threads, though, like the rest of us, Debian developers appear to be getting older and calmer as time goes by. If there were to be an intense thread now, one might think that the recent shift to XFCE as the default window system might be the cause. Indeed, there was some discussion of that topic, but that thread was easily buried by the hot-button issue that almost all distributions appear to need to debate at length: which init system to use. This is not the first time Debian has argued over init systems (see this 2011 article, for example), but, just maybe, it might be the last.

  8. Debian May Be Leaning Towards Systemd Over Upstart

    For months now the Debian Technical Committee has been tasked with deciding between systemd and Upstart for the future init system of the Linux distribution that also has a FreeBSD kernel port, etc. The debate has been long and ongoing. Among other opinions, Ian Jackson of the committee came out last month in favor of using Upstart while Russ Allberry came out in favor of systemd.

  9. A Major Music Company Now Backs Systemd In Debian
  10. Init wars: Debian tech panel may end up deadlocked

    The Debian technical committee may end up in a stalemate when it votes on which init system should be the default for the next release of its community GNU/Linux distribution.

  11. Red Hat must be rejoicing as Debian tilts towards systemd

    The Debian GNU/Linux Project’s technical committee appears to be split down the middle on the question of the default init system for the next release.

  12. Spotify uses Debian, endorses systemd instead of Upstart as default

    Debian is considering between Upstart and systemd – two competing daemons. While Upstart was developed solely by Canonical, systemd was developed by contributors from different distributions (edited, thanks to Jos Poortvliet).

  13. When life hands you lemons, go back to Debian

    To keep a short story short, the mantainer of the proprietary AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) driver for the Fedora-focused RPM Fusion repository doesn’t want to do it anymore.

    And he made this decision not before the release of Fedora 20 with lots of notice — and not after with lots of notice BUT PRETTY MUCH DURING THE RELEASE with no notice.

  14. Debian: 2840-1: srtp: buffer overflow
  15. Debian: 2835-1: asterisk: buffer overflow
  16. Debian: 2832-1: memcached: Multiple vulnerabilities
  17. Debian: 2830-1: ruby-i18n: cross-site scripting
  18. Debian: 2828-1: drupal6: Multiple vulnerabilities
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