View from the Trenches: Hitchhiker's Guide to a Bug Fix

A plea not to panic the next time a bug fix or security alert hits the newsgroups.


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Re: View from the Trenches: Hitchhiker's Guide to a Bug Fix

Anonymous's picture

Exactly. Anyone who uses Linux for any length of time learns the importance of a high quality package management system. Debian provides dpkg and apt. Life is good. Once that functionality is in place, patching is no worse than any other update and dependancy management.

My pet peave is spinmeisters who point at security advisories and turn logic on its head by saying that a high patch rate is a BadThing(tm). When I first got into IT someone told me there are two promises that a salesman can make with confidence, "Software has bugs, and hardware breaks". Well, seeing as how bugs are inevitable, then what really counts is the timeliness of discovery, and speed with which a patch comes out. After that, it's just business (package management) as usual.

Not True

Anonymous's picture

Once Linux get's BSD like randome position independent compiled code (RedHat is doing this I think) then 99% of all exploits will be gone.

And if the distros would just run all their code through Valgrind they'd save themselves a lot of bug fixes later as well.

If those two things happened we'd see OpenBSD level security in Linux.

i sort of disagree

florin's picture

99% of all exploits will be gone
I wish i could agree. Yes, the remote root exploits will be made much more difficult. But it will be a statistical thing: the correct entry points in certain code segments will be randomized. That doesn't mean it will be impossible to exploit a code and get remote root. It just means it will be a lot harder (orders of magnitude).

This will not prevent classic DoS, i mean remotely crashing the service. The remote root will not work, but the attacker may still be able to crash that particular service.

But anyway, i'm not saying it's worthless. It's still a valuable protection, it's just not panacea.

P.S.: Yes, Red Hat appears to be the first distro to deliver this thing. Their next release (scheduled for launch this month) will include this kind of protection. I can barely sit still while waiting for it... :-)