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

Michael James Michael.James at csiro.au
Tue May 4 03:14:06 GMT 2004

On Tuesday 04 May 2004 11:44, Kim Holburn wrote:
> 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.

A (rather unpatched redhat 5.3?) box that had been dialled in for all of a couple of hours
 once told me, "Message from root: You are on private property!"
"Right, fresh install time! Try to say that again without your power cord."

> 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.

Been using Suse's Yast_Online_Update for years,
 I get the occasional mail, warning of a behaviour change,
 but it's never broken anything, even on kernel upgrades.
It's so smooth that I'd automate it, if it weren't for those kernel upgrades.
Spontaneous reboots aren't ever welcome.


Michael James                         michael.james at csiro.au
System Administrator                    voice:  02 6246 5040
CSIRO Bioinformatics Facility             fax:  02 6246 5166

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