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Gentoo

Custom Linux Installations

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gentoo
Debian

Customize your Linux installation and gain working knowledge of your system at the same time.

Most Linux users are content with a standard installation of their distribution of choice. However, many prefer a custom installation. They may simply prefer to do things their way without dozens of post-install tweaks. Others may want to know exactly what they are installing as a requirement for security. Still others may want a consistent installation for multiple machines or to learn more about their operating system step by step. Linux offers tools for all these purposes.

Admittedly, most of these tools are for major distributions. A survey of these tools shows that many are for time-tested distros like Debian or openSUSE. If you want a custom install of, say, KDE neon or Puppy Linux, you may not find a ready-made solution. But among the major distributions, you are like to find multiple solutions. Read on for some of the main options.

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Calculate Linux 18.12 released

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Gentoo

We have a bunch of news for this last 2018 release. We have added support for installation on Btrfs with the zstd compression. All server editions have been optimized for size. Software can now be transferred when reinstalling the system. Our ISO images are packed in the zstd format to speed up the startup times for the LiveCD, applications and system installation.

Are available for download: Calculate Linux Desktop featuring the KDE (CLD), Cinnamon (CLDC), LXQt (CLDL), Mate (CLDM) or else Xfce (CLDX and CLDXE) environments, Calculate Directory Server (CDS), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS).

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Calculate Linux Desktop 18 LXQt released

Filed under
Gentoo

We are happy to announce the release of a new Calculate Linux Desktop flavour, featuring the LXQt desktop and therefore named CLDL. As well as other Calculates, it is backward compatible with Gentoo. As well as Gentoo, it uses Portage to install and manage packages. Our repository contains 13033 binary packages. The system boots with OpenRC. For network configuration, you have the choice between NetworkManager or OpenRC. For sound management, ALSA is suggested, PulseAudio is not needed.
CLDL is the fifth little one in the Calculate Linux Desktop family, providing a full-fledged workplace both in office and at home. This new distribution perfectly combines the advantages of Qt5, which is indeed the base for its interface, with the low system requirements of the Openbox window manager. CLDL is localized out-of-box in all standard European languages.

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Elivepatch Progressing For Live Kernel Patching On Gentoo, Rolling To Other Distros

Filed under
Linux
Gentoo

Elivepatch is a distributed live kernel patching mechanism developed by the Gentoo crowd during GSoC 2017 and has continued to be developed. While it is still centered around Gentoo, there are ambitions to bring this open-source live kernel patching tech to other distributions.

Alice Ferrazzi as the Gentoo Kernel Project Leader has been central to the development of Elivepatch going back to its start almost two years ago and she presented on it last week at Linux Plumbers Conference 2018. Elivepatch builds upon the live-patching code in the mainline kernel but was motivated due to the different vendor solutions being quite limited. For example, Oracle with Ksplice only works with Oracle Linux kernels, some of the vendor solutions being closed-source, requiring other custom kernel bits, or lack long-term support.

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Compartmentalized computing with CLIP OS

Filed under
OS
Gentoo

The design of CLIP OS 5 includes three elements: a bootloader, a core system, and the cages. The system uses secure boot with signed binaries. Only the x86 architecture was supported in the previous versions, and there are no other architectures in the plan for now. The core system is based on Hardened Gentoo. Finally, the cages provide user sessions, with applications and documents.

Processes running in separate cages cannot communicate directly. Instead, they must pass messages using special services on the core system; these services are unprivileged and confined on the cage system, but privileged on the core. These communication paths are shown in this architecture diagram from the documentation. Cages are also isolated from the core system itself — all interactions (system calls, for example) are checked and go through mediation services. The isolation between applications will be using containers, and the team plans to use the Flatpak format. The details of the CLIP OS 5 implementation are not available yet, as this feature is planned for the stable release.

A specific Linux security module (LSM) inspired from Linux-VServer will be used to add additional isolation between the cages, and between the cages and the core system. Linux-VServer is a virtual private server implementation designed for web hosting. It implements partitioning of a computer system in terms of CPU time, memory, the filesystem, and network addressing into security contexts. Starting and stopping a new virtual server corresponds to setting up and tearing down a security context.

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Calculate Linux 18 released

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Gentoo

We are happy to announce the release of Calculate Linux 18!

In this latest version, Calculate Utilities were ported to Qt5, your network is managed in a different way, and binary packages get checked using their index signature.

Calculate Linux Desktop featuring KDE (CLD), Cinnamon (CLDC), Mate (CLDM), or Xfce (CLDX) environments, Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS), Calculate Directory Server (CDS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS) are available for download.

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CLIP OS, Like Chrome OS, is Based on Gentoo

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Gentoo

ANSSI, the National Cybersecurity Agency of France, has released the sources of CLIP OS, that aims to build a hardened, multi-level operating system, based on the Linux kernel and a lot of free and open source software. We are happy to hear that it is based on Gentoo Hardened!

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A brief discussion about package installation times in Gentoo Linux

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Gentoo

I thought that perhaps users of binary-based Linux distributions who are contemplating trying out the source-based distribution Gentoo Linux might be interested to know a bit about installation times in contrast to binary distributions. I am not going to go into great detail here; this is just to give interested people a quick idea of possible package installation times in Gentoo Linux.

The package manager of a binary-based distribution such as Ubuntu downloads and installs binary (i.e. pre-built) packages. On the other hand, Gentoo’s package manager Portage downloads source-code packages and builds the binaries (executables) on your machine. Nevertheless, a small number of Portage packages contain binaries rather than source code, either because the source code could take many hours to build on older hardware or because the source code is simply not available in the public domain. An example of the first scenario is Firefox, which is available in Gentoo both as the source code package www-client/firefox and as the binary package www-client/firefox-bin so that the user can choose which to install (‘merge’, in Gentoo parlance). An example of the second scenario is TeamViewer, which is only available as the binary package net-misc/teamviewer because TeamViewer is closed-source software (i.e. the company that develops TeamViewer does not release its source code).

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Security Issues at Gentoo Narrowed Down to Crappy Password

Filed under
Gentoo
Security
  • Linux experts are crap at passwords!

    Fortunately, Gentoo’s GitHub respository wasn’t the primary source for Gentoo code, and few, if any, Gentoo users were relying on it for software updates.

  • Gentoo publishes detailed report after its GitHub was compromised

    You may have seen the news towards the end of June that Gentoo, a fairly advanced Linux distribution, had its GitHub repository compromised after an attacker managed to gain access to one of the connected accounts. Now, Gentoo has published a comprehensive report about the incident and it turns out that the gaff was due to not following rudimentary security tips.

  • Weak Admin Password Caused Compromise of Gentoo GitHub repository

    Gentoo have finished their investigation of the hack that affected their project last week on GitHub. The point of vulnerability has turned out to be a weak Administrator password. upon compromise the hackers added the Linux killer command “rm -rf /” so when users cloned the project to their computers all their data will be erased.

Microsoft, the NSA, and GitHub

Filed under
Gentoo
Microsoft
Security
  • Gentoo hacker's code changes unlikely to have worked

    Linux distribution Gentoo's maintainers say attempts by attackers last week to sabotage code stored on Github is unlikely to have worked.

    Gentoo's Github account was compromised in late June.

    The attacker was able to gain administrative privileges for Gentoo's Github account, after guessing the password for it.

    Gentoo's maintainers were alerted to the attack early thanks to the attacker removing all developers from the Github account, causing them to be emailed.

  • NSA Exploit "DoublePulsar" Patched to Work on Windows IoT Systems

    An infosec researcher who uses the online pseudonym of Capt. Meelo has modified an NSA hacking tool known as DoublePulsar to work on the Windows IoT operating system (formerly known as Windows Embedded).

    The original DoublePulsar is a hacking tool that was developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and was stolen and then leaked online by a hacking group known as The Shadow Brokers.

    At its core, DoublePulsar is a Ring-0 kernel mode payload that acts like a backdoor into compromised systems. DoublePulsar is not meant to be used on its own, but together with other NSA tools.

  • Predictable password blamed for Gentoo GitHub organisation takeover [Ed: when Microsoft takes over the NSA gets all these passwords. (NSA PRISM)]

    Gentoo has laid out the cause and impact of an attack that saw the Linux distribution locked out of its GitHub organisation.

    The attack took place on June 28, and saw Gentoo unable to use GitHub for approximately five days.

    Due a lack of two-factor authentication, once the attacker guessed an admin's password, the organisation was in trouble.

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