Ubuntu: Seriously Secure

More press coverage about Ubuntu’s excellent security record, taking out the top score in SearchOpenSource.com’s comparison. Not long ago, LWN gave it top billing in their analysis.

The bottom line is that even this informal analysis shows there are definitely differences in how fast Linux distributions develop and issue security patches. Security managers should keep that in mind when their organizations are in the process of selecting a version of Linux. Timeliness of security updates may prove to be a key issue that differentiates manufacturers of otherwise-similar operating systems.

Martin Pitt, Ubuntu’s security czar, flat out rocks!

“Evil” is a bad place to start the healing

Zaheer, I continue to defend freedom of speech on Planet GNOME, in spite of many complaints now and in the past about various blogs — including my own, on occasions. Your posts about the situation between Israel and Lebanon are very serious examples of the (sometimes pretty crazy) things people complain to me about. But they’re yours, and belong here on Planet GNOME, which you’ve accepted as a very direct audience for your blog.

In your latest post, you ask, Don’t you see how evil Israel is?

I’d say that perhaps their leadership has been foolish, inappropriately violent, morally bankrupt and self-destructive, but I wouldn’t say evil. Characterising an enemy’s behaviour as evil means that you are putting yourself in absolute opposition to them, unwilling to sympathise or empathise with their position, and totally dismissing the possibility that a peaceful resolution could be made between philosophies and beliefs. In some cases, that is actually true, but the word is bandied about far too often for us to use it in a realistic way.

I hope you don’t actually think that Israel — the country and its people — is evil, because I think you’re far too reasonable to think that the situation is ultimately a zero sum game.

QoTD: Dave Miller

“[Reworking the core tuple ID used for netfilter lookups] would be a radical departure from the present netfilter mechanisms, and would require redoing the userspace tools. Rusty says the world be damned and let’s do it if necessary! This guy is quite inspirational :) — Dave Miller, on the status of netchannels

Suggestions for suitable punishments we can dole out to Rusty at linux.conf.au 2007 in the comments, please.

O’Reilly Radar vs. School Girls

I managed to limit myself to a ten minute speech about Ubuntu at the O’Reilly Radar Executive Briefing yesterday, as part of Tim’s Spotlight: Who’s on the O’Reilly Open Source Radar? short presentation session. I received quite a bit of positive feedback about it, and indeed, the word awesome was uttered once or twice… But I’m really looking forward to getting an awesome from 2300 school girls. That’s gotta be where it’s at.

Swimming upstream

Mark has said that when the opportunity to fulfill almost any dream became available to him, his first thought was “go to space”… quickly followed by the realisation that if he didn’t make it happen, he’d spend the rest of his life wondering what could have been, or worse, hating himself for letting it pass by. I’ve also heard him say, many times now, “do what you love”.

No, I’m not going to space. But I’ve stung myself with a similar dilemma — what if “do what you love” means taking bare-knuckled, stomach-churning risk head on? There’s only one answer that I know I’ll be able to live with: DO IT. POP THE TRUNK.

So today, I resigned from Canonical. I finish up at the end of the month.

It seems like an insane time to step off the merry-go-round, considering the ever-rising crescendo in the Ubuntu community, and the incredible progress I have been privileged to watch within Canonical — the juggernaut is in fifth gear, heaving and chomping at the bit to shift up to sixth.

So, why now? I’m excited about Ubuntu, passionate about its mission, confident in its future, and have thoroughly enjoyed being part of it from the very beginning… But ultimately, my heart lies with another, and I have to take that chance, face that risk, while my family commitments and responsibilities allow it. (To avoid any confusion this will inevitably bring — no, Pia is not pregnant! Stop asking that!)

What’s next? Swimming upstream.

QoTD: Stormy Peters

“I get asked a lot how I got involved in open source and why I’m such a big fan. While the why I’m such a big fan has a long history in how I view software, technology and society, the how I got involved in open source and so quickly discovered what a great community it is is all due to the GNOME community.” — Stormy Peters on joining the community

I probably say it all too often here, but this is a familiar story for many GNOMErs. With such a fantastic community of fun, smart and committed people, it is extremely challenging to resist GNOME’s unique gravitational pull.

QoTD: Dave Rosenberg

“Forgive my inane ramblings but as we were driving home from downtown SF my wife and I spotted a crew of gentlemen wearing jeans and sportcoats and she applied the phrase ‘the business mullet’ for the combo. [...] When I am at OSCON I will be taking count of the guilty parties.” — Dave Rosenberg and moongirl

Shit! Now I have to get rid of two mullets.

I’ll be at OSCON, speaking about building the Ubuntu community.

Norman Walsh needs our love

Norman Walsh — esteemed godfather of Docbook — gets very cranky with GNOME, ditches it for a while, but ultimately returns… because it just feels right.

I can understand his frustration — gnome-screensaver has been flicking the hate switches for a lot of our traditional, tech-savvy users. I’m hearing about it a lot. It’s a great example of GNOME shipping software a teeny-weeny bit too early, building dependencies around it, and frustrating a bunch of our early adopters.

So if anyone’s looking for a good way to make our early adopters and momentum users happier — and by “happier” I mean “kick arse” — give your love to gnome-screensaver today. Delight them with a bit of just works… and a bit of just works personalisation to boot!

Congratulations, Stormy!

Congratulations from myself and the GNOME team — I hope you have a wonderful time in the next few months, years, and beyond! There are lots of babies on the way in GNOME and other FLOSS communities too… Seems we’re all growing up. Eeek! Nice to see things like Parent Hacks turning up as a result. ;-)

Will miss you at OSCON, but for very good reasons!

(For the GNOMies who don’t know Stormy, she was the HP representative to the GNOME Foundation for quite some time, and was always great at cutting to the chase and shining a light on what really mattered. Also, it was entertaining to have Stormy and Havoc at the same meetings.)