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September 10th, 2016

HPE Boosts SUSE, Rootkit Targets Linux & More…

Also included: Creative Commons wins in Austria, two new distro releases, a new version for Solus’s Budgie, KDE goes Wayland and Mageia supports DNF.

FOSS Week in Review

Damn if the days aren’t already getting too short for this old soul who no longer feels comfortable driving after dark. This is made worse by the fact I live way out in the country — miles from nowhere, as they say — meaning I’m pretty much stuck in the house at night. The good news is, this means that these days I’m getting a lot of writing done.

Now on to this weeks FOSS news…

We’ll start with the good news. The Creative Commons has scored a victory in Austria. This started as one of those right versus left sort of stories, involving a left leaning film collective, Filmpiraten, and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, or FPO. It seems that Filmpiraten posted a video to YouTube documenting protests against Akedemikerball, an annual event hosted by the FPO each year in Vienna that brings right wing leaders to Austria. Also, each year it brings thousands of protesters.

Long story short: The FPO reposted the video to its own YouTube channel claiming a copyright, the later aspect being in violation of the Creative Commons license under which Filmpiraten originally posted it. Eventually the case ended up in an Austrian court, which ruled in favor of Filmpiraten and therefore the Creative Commons. The FPO plans an appeal, however. You can read about it on kNOw Future Inc.

Now the bad news: There’s a new rootkit targeting Linux on PCs and ARM devices. Called Umbreon — evidently a Pokemon character — it’s now availabe for purchase in the hacker underground. The rootkit runs in user space, doesn’t require kernel privileges, and is capable of hiding to avoid detection. It also creates a back door on infected machines. All of the news isn’t bad: According to Trend Micro, the malware must be manually installed, either through an earlier compromise or by direct access.

SUSE gets a boost from HPE: It seems that SUSE stands to gain from the deal announced this week that will see HPE spin off its nonessential software into a new company that will be jointly owned by HPE and the Brit firm Micro Focus, with HPE getting a little over half of the company. Evidently as part of the deal, HPE has announced that going forward, Micro Focus-owned SUSE will be its preferred Linux partner. Expect to see SUSE tightly integrated with HPE’s server offerings, with the software stack it’s keeping in-house and with the software that will be sold by the company that will come from its Micro Focus partnership. SUSE is already a strong enterprise Linux competitor, especially in Europe. This will only boost that position, and give it an inroad to the U.S. market it’s been lacking.

Another day, another distro: Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” was released on Friday, as always showcasing the Pantheon desktop environment. The distro is meant to be an easy replacement for both Windows and OS X…. AVLinux, the distro for multimedia content creators, has released version 2016.9.30 with lots of improvements. Download from “the usual place.”

Quick takes: The Solus project has announced the release of its home grown DE, Budgie 10.2.7. Plenty of new stuff, especially for the notification and customization center applet Raven…. The developers at KDE have decided to go Wayland by default for KDE Neon’s unstable/developer OS…. Starting with the next release, Mageia will offer two package management systems. URPMI will remain the default, but the distro will include support for DNF, the RPM fork used by Fedora.

That does it for this week. Until next time, be good, play nice and may the FOSS be with you…

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

5 comments to HPE Boosts SUSE, Rootkit Targets Linux & More…

  • Cornel Panceac

    DNF is a YUM fork, not a RPM fork.

  • Mike

    A rootkit which requires manual installation: This is not a vulnerability or flaw in Linux.

    In other words, someone wrote a nasty program which will do bad things to you if you install it. Sounds like Windows.

  • Nothing in the article says it targets a vulnerability or flaw in Linux, Mike. It’s still news, because it targets Linux, and Linux users need to know about it. And “you” don’t have to install it. Users who are already compromised and don’t know it are at risk. You’re also at risk if someone gains physical access to your computer. As I said in the article, “This isn’t all bad…”

  • tracyanne

    It is basically standard operating parameters for malware on Linux, for which the standard mode of protection is use strong passwords, don’t let others know them, don’t install anything that isn’t in the distribution software store. and make sure your computer is never available for others to do naughty things.

    Something everyone should do anyway, but can’t if you are a Windows or Mac user. Which makes me wonder what will happen when Flatpack and Snappy become the default.

  • Mike

    @Christine

    > “Nothing in the article says it targets a vulnerability or flaw in Linux, Mike.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that. I just thought it important to point out before the “OMG linux has been h4xx0r3d” hype starts. A lot of sites (not this one) spread a lot of ignorant crap.

    > “You’re also at risk if someone gains physical access to your computer.”

    To be fair if someone has physical access to your computer…you’re toast, with any OS.