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Linux Top 3: Tails 1.2.3, Steam OS Update 153 and Linux Mint systemd

  • January 19, 2015
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

1) Tails 1.2.3

The Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) Linux operating system is out with its first update of the year, fixing multiple security issues, in the privacy focused Linux distribution.

In total there are at least 20 different security issues fixed in the Tails 1.2.3 update. 15 of the issues are Debian security updates (Tails is based on Debian) and three are specific to Mozilla, which the Tor Browser is based on.

There is an interesting spoofing flaw identified as Tails bug #8571which is also interesting.

"If MAC spoofing fails, we have specified that we're supposed to enter into a panic mode were we do our best to prevent the device in question to talk to the network (and hence leak the real MAC address) by removing the module etc. However, if macchanger returns an error we will actually not do this."

Additionally there is a flaw that might not allow older versions of Tails to see that a new update is available.

"On January 3rd, the SSL certificate of our website hosting provider, boum.org, expired. This means that if you still are running Tails 1.2.1 or older, you will not get any update notification"

2) SteamOS  UPDATE 153

SteamOS got its first update of the year on January 14 with the update 153 milestone. The vast majority of the bug fixes and security updates are from the upstream Debian 7.7 update. SteamOS (like Tails) is based on Debian.

The non-Debian upstream specific updates include:

  • Updated NVIDIA drivers to 343.22
  • Updated AMD graphics driver to 14.9
  • Linux kernel rebased against 3.10.60
  • Improved performance of timing system calls for 32-bit applications by backporting i386 VDSO changes from upstream kernel and adding eglibc support for them
  • Fixed "XCOM: Enemy Unknown" not focusing on startup

3) Linux Mint 18 and systemd


Linux Mint, based on Ubuntu and the upstream Debian as well, is in the process of figuring out its next Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) updates. Figuring out where systemd will fit is a big part of that conversation.

"Similar to Linux Mint 17.x, LMDE 2 “Betsy” will be using the traditional sysvinit. The move to systemd could happen with Linux Mint 18 and LMDE 3, giving this new technology and the Linux ecosystem 2 years (or more) to mature and to iron out integration and compatibility issues. Cinnamon in particular is built without systemd support by default and the development team is planning to change this in version 2.6 to give the DE the ability to switch at runtime between systemd and consolekit/upower without the need to recompile anything."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at LinuxPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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