Tagged: Ubuntu

Ubuntu 11.10 – Oneiric Ocelot – Released

Ubuntu has just announced the release of the newest version of their Linux Distribution: Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. With this release comes a myriad of updates and bug fixes along with further development of the Unity UI. The server version aims to take hold of the Cloud with a plethora of built-in cloud tools. A brief excerpt from the official release letter is below. You can download the newest version at http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” – Victor Hugo

The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce Ubuntu 11.10, code-named
“Oneiric Ocelot”. 11.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of
integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies
into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

For PC users, Ubuntu 11.10 supports laptops, desktops and netbooks
with a unified look and feel based on an updated version of the
desktop shell called “Unity”, which introduces specialized “Lenses”.
Finding and installing software using the Ubuntu Software Centre is
now easier thanks to improvements in speed, search functionality
enhancements, and usability improvements. Aside from updates
on the performance side, it’s also more aesthetically appealing.

Ubuntu Server 11.10 has made it much easier to provision, deploy,
host, manage, and orchestrate enterprise data centre infrastructure
services with the introduction of “Orchestra”.  The Juju technical
preview allows service developers to describe the deployment and
scaling requirements of their applications, in order to simplify
and enhance the dialogue between developers and operations teams.
For those working on the ARM architecture, a technical preview is
also provided for the ARM server.

Read more about the new features of Ubuntu 11.10 in the following
press releases:


Development of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to incorporate major changes.

The Ubuntu team has decided to take a different approach to development for the next Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu. Lucid Lynx, which is slated for an April 2010 release, will benefit from these changes through increased stability, more focused agile development and a tighter synchronization with the main Debian development cycle. According to the Ubuntu LTS Wiki, the overall aim of an LTS release is to be more enterprise focused with increased hardware compatibility and more overall testing. What is not intended for an LTS release is cutting edge package inclusion nor a hot of new features. Because the core focus of an LTS release is stability, the user base should appreciate the level of refinement that will go into the release and not fret over the lack of ‘cool new features’ that often accompany non-LTS releases.

So how does Ubuntu plan to ‘reign in the sprawl’ with respect to development of Lucid Lynx? I believe Matt Zimmerman, technical leader of the Ubuntu project, said it best on his blog.

Merge from Debian testing

By merging from Debian testing, rather than the usual unstable, we aim to avoid regressions early in the release cycle which tend to block development work. So far, Lucid has been surprisingly usable in its first weeks, compared to previous Ubuntu releases.

Add fewer features

By starting fewer development projects, and opting for more testing projects over feature projects, we will free more time and energy for stabilization. This approach will help us to discover regressions earlier, and to fix them earlier as well. This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu 10.04 won’t have bugs (with hundreds of millions of lines of source code, there is no such thing as a bug-free system), but we believe it will help us to produce a system which is suitable for longer-term use by more risk-averse users.

Avoid major infrastructure changes

We will bring in less bleeding-edge code from upstream than usual, preferring to stay with more mature components. Where a major transition is brewing upstream, we will probably opt to defer it to the next Ubuntu cycle. While this might delay some new functionality slightly, we believe the additional stability is well worth it for an LTS release.

Extend beta testing

With less breakage early in the cycle, we plan to enter beta early. Traditionally, the beta period is when we receive the most user feedback, so we want to make the most of it. We’ll deliver a usable, beta-quality system substantially earlier than in 9.10, and our more adventurous users will be able to upgrade at that point with a reasonable expectation of stability.

Freeze with Debian

With Debian “squeeze” expected to freeze in March, Ubuntu and Debian will be stabilizing on similar timelines. This means that Debian and Ubuntu developers will be attacking the same bugs at the same time, creating more opportunities to join forces.

He goes on to talk more about the set of tools that the developers will be using to track their progress and the use of agile development methods to make that easier. The developers will also be posting their progress publicly so that the community can follow along. In essence, the final goal of this LTS release is to gain the confidence of IT departments who will be deploying Lucid Lynx and maintaining it for a period of years thereafter.

Linux, Unix and Windows Security Readiness Review Scripts

I often get questions from organizations looking to beef up their security policies and procedures. Often enough, this is right after a system has been compromised. Linux and Unix admins will often tout the inherent security framework built into Linux and Unix, but no system that is improperly configured or maintained is safe from threat or attack. As a baseline, I often urge these businesses to take a look at the U.S. Government Information Assurance Security Readiness Review Scripts. These can be run against new or existing builds (servers and desktops) to get a better idea what vulnerabilities exist on the system. They are pretty straightforward, and they usually have readme files that explain how to use them. You can download these scripts at the DISA Website: http://iase.disa.mil/stigs/SRR/index.html

There are scrpts for Unix (Linux), Windows, Oracle and some other exotic and legacy operating systems. Having a baseline for security is important. Not every single server can be hardened down 100% and it is up to your risk assessment people to determine what level of risk is acceptable in trade for functionality. There are a few more resources that I will post about in the future, but these should get you started on the right path to securing your systems. After all, the DoD requires the use of these SRRs, so you should definitely take a look at them at the very least. If you are not sure how to use them or what they do, just Google around for some more information. The better prepared you are from the start, the less of a chance that your systems will be victims of a security breach.