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Linux Top 3: SUSE Secures Boot, Ubuntu Boots Wayland, Slackware 14 Boots Up

  • August 12, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

1) SUSE Secures Boot

Every Linux distro in one way or another is trying to come to grips with the upcoming Secure Boot problem that Microsoft is unleashing on the hardware world with Windows 8. Red Hat has outlined its plans, which are to acquire a key and then to essentially 'play along' with the Microsoft Secure Boot.

SUSE has now detailed its approach and its one that is rather novel (pun intended). SUSE is going to try and use Boot Services Only Variables in their Secure Boot implementation.

"These variables are accessible to any code that runs during the boot process," SUSE developer VojtÄ›ch Pavlík explained. "After the boot process ends and before the OS starts, the bootloader must call the ExitBootServices() call. After that, these variables are no longer accessible, the OS can't touch them."

That doesn't mean that the SUSE approach is entirely different than the Fedora one. Pavlik noted that that SUSE with use a Fedora based shim, that could be signed by SUSE or a Microsoft-issued certificate.

The SUSE approach is not quite a done deal in terms of implementation yet, but it does offer a marginal alternative to what has been suggested to date.

"Our approach is just making sure that a feature like this is available everywhere," Pavlik said. "To keep the 'PC' a free platform."

2) Ubuntu Boots Wayland

Yes this title is (a little) misleading. Ubuntu is not booting Wayland in the software sense, they are 'booting' Wayland in the kicking out sense, for now at least.

Wayland has been touted as the next generation Linux desktop compositing manager and a future replacement for the aging X11/x.org. Ubuntu had been trying to get Wayland ready and fully integrated as part of the upcoming 12.10 release, but it's now clear that's not going to happen. "descoping the compositor work from quantal, good progresses have been made but it doesn't seem realistic to enable it by default, we will revisit that next cycle," states the latest updateon Ubuntu's launchpad site.

3) Slackware 14 RC1

Slackware has never had commercial backing behind it like Ubuntu or SUSE, it is very much a community effort led by founder Patrick Volkerding.

Slackware 14 is now rounding the corner and headed for home. This past week the first release candidate for Slackware 14 debuted.

"Mercury went direct early yesterday morning, and it was like the bugs started to fix themselves," Volkerding wrote in the latest changelog. "It's almost enough to get me believing in that hocus-pocus nonsense! So, here's a bunch of updates that fix all of the reported issues in the beta, and we'll call this the 14.0 release candidate 1. Still some updates needed for the top-level documentation files, but we're clearly in the home stretch now (finally)."

The last Slackware release was number 13.37 (leet) and came out in April of this year.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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