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Security Update for Red Hat Linux Kernel

Red Hat has issued a security update for its Kernel that fixes issues related to following packages. This update has been rated as having important security impact on RHEL 4.x / 5.x, and you are recommended to update system as soon as possible.

=> Updated GFS-kernel, gnbd-kernel,dlm-kernel, cmirror-kernel, cman-kernel, Virtualization_Guide, Cluster_Administration, and lobal_File_System packages that fix module loading and others issues under RHEL 4.x and 5.x available now.

How do I update my system?

Simply type the following two commands:
# yum update
Sample output:

Loading "rhnplugin" plugin
Loading "security" plugin
rhel-x86_64-server-vt-5   100% |=========================| 1.2 kB    00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-5      100% |=========================| 1.2 kB    00:00
Skipping security plugin, no data
Setting up Update Process
Resolving Dependencies
Skipping security plugin, no data
--> Running transaction check
---> Package kernel.x86_64 0:2.6.18-92.1.6.el5 set to be installed
---> Package kernel-devel.x86_64 0:2.6.18-92.1.6.el5 set to be installed
---> Package kernel-headers.x86_64 0:2.6.18-92.1.6.el5 set to be updated
---> Package Deployment_Guide-en-US.noarch 0:5.2-11 set to be updated
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
--> Running transaction check
---> Package kernel.x86_64 0:2.6.18-53.1.21.el5 set to be erased
---> Package kernel.x86_64 0:2.6.18-92.1.6.el5 set to be installed
---> Package kernel-devel.x86_64 0:2.6.18-92.1.6.el5 set to be installed
---> Package kernel-headers.x86_64 0:2.6.18-92.1.6.el5 set to be updated
---> Package Deployment_Guide-en-US.noarch 0:5.2-11 set to be updated
---> Package kernel-devel.x86_64 0:2.6.18-53.1.21.el5 set to be erased
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
 Package                 Arch       Version          Repository        Size
 kernel                  x86_64     2.6.18-92.1.6.el5  rhel-x86_64-server-5   16 M
 kernel-devel            x86_64     2.6.18-92.1.6.el5  rhel-x86_64-server-5  5.0 M
 Deployment_Guide-en-US  noarch     5.2-11           rhel-x86_64-server-5  3.5 M
 kernel-headers          x86_64     2.6.18-92.1.6.el5  rhel-x86_64-server-5  880 k
 kernel                  x86_64     2.6.18-53.1.21.el5  installed          75 M
 kernel-devel            x86_64     2.6.18-53.1.21.el5  installed          15 M
Transaction Summary
Install      2 Package(s)
Update       2 Package(s)
Remove       2 Package(s)
Total download size: 25 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y

Today, at the Red Hat Summit in Boston, Mass., Red Hat introduced Project Spacewalk. RHN has provided patches and software for Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. Spacewalk is an open source (GPLv2) Linux systems management solution. It is the upstream community project from which the Red Hat Network Satellite product is derived. From the press release:

Spacewalk is the upstream project upon which RHN Satellite will now be based. Spacewalk will work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora and other Red Hat Enterprise Linux derivative distributions like CentOS and Scientific Linux. Spacewalk will bring together a growing community of new users along with seasoned systems management veterans. In this way, the Satellite product can grow (as Linux itself does) with the combined efforts of the open source leader, Red Hat, and an invigorated community. Both will work together to expand the capabilities and stature of the upstream project. This will translate into faster adoption of new, innovative ideas and technologies into the downstream Satellite product.

(Fig.01: Spacewalk in action)

=> You can download spacewalk software here.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 Released

Red Hat enterprise Linux version 5.2 has been released and available via a Red Hat Network subscription. This update brings broad refresh of hardware support and improved quality, combined with new features and enhancements in areas such as virtualization, desktop, networking, storage & clustering and security.

Virtualization of very large systems, with up to 64 CPUs and 512 GB of memory, is now possible. Virtualization support for NUMA-based architectures is provided, as well as security, performance, manageability and robustness improvements. CPU frequency scaling support for virtualized environments also allows for reduced power consumption.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 provides enhanced capabilities for several hardware architectures, covering x86/x86-64, Itanium, IBM POWER and IBM System z, which provide improved performance, power usage, scalability and manageability. For example, support for Intel's Dynamic Acceleration Technology permits power saving by quiescing idle CPU cores, and offers performance gains by potentially overclocking busy cores within safe thermal levels. Other hardware enhancements include extensive device driver updates, covering storage, network and graphics devices, and certification of IBM's new Cell Blade systems.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux becomes a certified operating system for IBM's new high-performance blade server based on Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E) Architecture.

Desktop version includes latest cutting edge softwares:

  • Evolution 2.12.3
  • Firefox 3
  • OpenOffice 2.3.0
  • Thunderbird 2.0

Red Hat Cluster Suite, which is included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Advanced Platform, now has a Resource Event Scripting Language that enables sophisticated application failover capabilities. It also newly supports SCSI-3 reservation fencing support for active/active and active/passive DM/MPIO (multipathing), which widens the range of storage devices that can be used in clusters.

Improved iSCSI support allows users to set-up diskless systems with a root volume on the iSCSI server, a common requirement in high-density Blade environments.

How do I upgrade my system?

First, make sure you backup existing configuration and data. Next, simply type the following two commands:
# yum update
# reboot

Verify that everything is working fine including all services:
# netstat -tulpn
# netstat -nat
# tail -f /var/log/messages
# egrep -i 'error|warn' /var/log/messages
# egrep -i 'error|warn' /path/to/apps/log/file

Alternatively, you can click on the "Red Hat Network Alert Notification GUI Tool" - which is a notifier that appears on the panel and alerts users when software package updates are available for the systems. This is point and click method.

If you are CentOS Linux user wait for some time to get all updates. More information available at Red Hat web site.

Ubuntu 'reaping Linux dividend'

Red Hat and Novell decided not to challenge Microsoft on desktop PCs. However, Canonical Ltd is getting ready to release a new version of Ubuntu on Thursday. According to Mark Shuttleworth:

The public perception of open source software is changing fast. French police force was currently deploying 50,000 Ubuntu-powered machines, while Spanish education authorities were rolling out 500,000 desktops with the OS. Hardy Heron also has improved support for multimedia, including photo editing, music sharing and video playback. It's a favorite version of Linux both for specialists and one that specialists would recommend to a cousin, aunt or uncle who want to have a stable desktop internet experience. There are other versions of Linux that are better for a particular purpose - but Ubuntu strives to be a general platform that is secure and self-maintained.

Ubuntu 'reaping Linux dividend'

Now Novell Says Linux Consumer Desktop Too Tough

Finally, both Red Hat and Novell is in total agreement - both of them thinks making money with Linux desktop is hard. According to Ron Hovsepian, CEO, Novell India Engineering:

The market for the desktop for the next three to five years is mainly enterprise-related.

As usual, I recommend Ubuntu Linux for both consumer Desktop and Laptop user:

  • Ubuntu will always be free of charge, including enterprise releases and security updates.
  • Ubuntu comes with full commercial support from Canonical and hundreds of companies around the world.
  • Ubuntu includes the very best translations and accessibility infrastructure that the free software community has to offer.
  • Ubuntu CDs contain only free software applications; we encourage you to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.

Red Hat has no plans to create a traditional Linux desktop software for the end user market, but will continue to place its bets on a desktop for commercial markets as it is not making money from them. From the press release:

An explanation: as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers. The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today’s Linux desktops simply don’t provide a practical alternative. Of course, a growing number of technically savvy users and companies have discovered that today’s Linux desktop is indeed a practical alternative. Nevertheless, building a sustainable business around the Linux desktop is tough, and history is littered with example efforts that have either failed outright, are stalled or are run as charities. But there’s good news too. Technical developments that have become available over the past year or two are accelerating the spread of the Linux Desktop.

Now I'm just wondering where this leaves Fedora Desktop in the long term? Ubuntu Linux seems to doing well and it is going to lead Linux Desktop market along with other distros. Linux is also getting installed on mobile and many tiny devices.

Red hat's Open Source Assurance program is already used to safeguard customers developing and deploying open source solutions. Red hat now asking court to limit patents on software:

Open source software is one of the most dynamic, innovative sectors of the U.S. economy, but the U.S. patent system is a costly hindrance to open source innovation. We believe that although the patent system was created to foster innovation, it’s simply not an engine for innovation for open source. Software patents were barely recognized when open source began, and so the hope of obtaining a patent did not motivate the first developers. Those pioneers were generally opposed to software patents. The open, collaborative activity at the heart of open source is at odds with the patent system, which excludes the public from making, using or selling a patented invention. Open source developers seek to contribute code to the community – not to exclude others from using the code.

There is also Open Invention Network (OIN) backed by IBN, Red Hat, Novell, Sony and others. OIN is a company that acquires patents and offers them royalty free "to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux operating system or certain Linux-related applications". On a related note, Microsoft has claimed that free software such as OpenOffice.org and the Linux kernel violate 235 Microsoft patents and said that it will seek license fees.

=> Read more : Red Hat Asks Federal Court To Limit Patents On Software