[clug] Old linux distros and support - why I like debian

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at anu.edu.au
Tue May 4 01:44:09 GMT 2004

Subtitle: Why I like debian

Someone said something to me the other day which made me go "Huh?"

It was this:  "They had a problem with old linnux systems getting 
hacked".  I thought about this for a while and it's true.  Especially 
for commercial distros - like Red Hat, SuSE etc.  I wonder if RedHat 
enterprise or fedora fixes this?

I guess the problem doesn't happen for windows boxes for a number of 
reasons.  First, windows is not stable enough to go without user 
intervention and without crashing for any length of time.  Most windows 
boxes are desktops so someone uses them or turns them off.  Windows 
servers seem to need a lot of hand-holding to stay up and running.

An old un-updated linux system can sit around for years - still running 
and less and less secure.  Then it gets 0wned.

I've seen this on my network a number of times.  It is made worse by 
commercial distros that time out maintaining security patches and 
distros where patching is not automatic or requires some manual 
configuration changes.  I know SuSE updates used to mess with /etc/ 
files on occasion and break important things.

Kim Holburn
IT Manager, Canberra Research Laboratory
National Information and Communication Technology Australia
Ph: +61 2 61258620 M: +61 0417820641
Email: kim.holburn at anu.edu.au  - PGP Public Key on request

Life is complex - It has real and imaginary parts.
      Andrea Leistra (rec.arts.sf.written.Robert-jordan)

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