Linux Top 3: Secure Boot Bricks, Kernel Advances and MariaDB
On the Linux Planet, few issues have been more contentious in recent years than Microsoft's Secure Boot and Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Both issues surfaced again this past week.
1) Secure Boot Bricks
From the very first time that Matthew Garrett warned us all about the risk that UEFI Secure Boot presented to Linux users, people have been worried that they would be locked out of new desktop and notebook hardware.
That fear was realized this past week when Samsung notebooks with UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot enabled for Windows 8, actually *BRICKED* when attempting to load Linux. Release the FUD Mongering Hounds! No Wait!! Linux devs got this...
"It has been reported that running this driver on some Samsung laptops with EFI can cause those machines to become bricked," Intel Linux kernel developer Matt Fleming wrote in a Linux kernel commit message. "So disable it if booting from EFI since this driver relies on grovelling around in the BIOS memory map which isn't going to work."
That's right, there already is a fix in the kernel for the Samsung Secure Boot brick issue. Secure Boot is a risk to Linux, but it is a risk that is being addressed by talented and committed developers.
Among the many issues related to Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystem a few years ago was the concern about what would happen to MySQL. After all, Oracle has its own proprietary database, what would they need or want with an open source database?
Oracle has done its best to try and advance MySQL, putting out new releases and improving the overall stability and quality of the platform.
But questions still remain. Many of those questions have been raised by MySQL founder Monty Widenius, who has moved on to create and maintain his own drop-in replacement for MySQL called MariaDB.
Now after two years of Oracle ownership of MySQL, major Linux distributions including OpenSUSE and Fedora are poised to embrace MariaDB instead of MySQL as the default included open source database.
"MariaDB, which was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community," the Fedora 19 Features wiki states. " We have found them to be much easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters. We would like to replace MySQL with MariaDB in early development cycle for Fedora 19. MySQL will continue to be available for at least one release, but MariaDB will become the default. Also, we do not intend to support concurrent installation of both packages on the same machine; pick one or the other."
3) Kernel development
This past week also saw multiple Linux kernel releases. Greg Kroah-Hartman has released the 3.0.62, 3.4.29, and 3.7.6 stable kernels.
On the go forward front, Linus Torvalds is nearly ready to release the final version Linux 3.8. The sixth release candidate for Linux 3.8 debuted on Friday February 1st. Torvalds warned his fellow Linux kernel devs that the rc7 release will need to be tight, since he is taking some time out to go diving.
"I have a CleverPlan(tm) to make *sure* that rc7 will be better and much smaller," Torvalds wrote. "That plan largely depends on me being unreachable for the next week due to the fact that there is no internet under water. Paraphrasing the Alien films: "Under water, nobody can read your email".