VA Linux Backs ‘Newbie’ Web Site

This week, Linux-based hardware solutions vendor VA Linux Systems moved to support startup Web portal LinuxNewbie.com (LNC), a site aimed at introducing the public to the increasingly popular open-source operating system (OS).

“LNC will, we hope, provide a source of news, information and guidance to the many new Linux users out there,” commented site manager James Green. “We also understand that while many people have used Windows before, many may not have, and so our content will not be focused solely on Windows to Linux transitions — it will cover all backgrounds and should provide a useful insight into Linux for those who are still thinking of installing it.”

VA will provide the facilities and resources necessary to maintain the site, which will officially launch later this month. LNC, a non-profit project supported by an international volunteer staff, plans to feature advice and support, opinion columns, reviews, a searchable database of problems and solutions, technology previews and tutorials. According to Green, visitor contribution is encouraged.

VA Introduces Professional Services

Moving to provide a single point of contact, VA Linux also announced this week the launch of its Professional Services Group, which will offer consulting and customization services and support to business customers. Operating out of the company’s Sunnyvale, California offices, the group will focus upon offering services in several areas: Architecture and planning; deployment and installation; performance analysis; security consulting; and systems integration.

“Our goal is to make our customers successful with Linux by offering ongoing access to VA Linux expertise,” stated John T. Hall, vice president of support and professional services for VA Linux. “Our focus on systems gives us unique knowledge of our customers’ entire Linux environment.”

This Week’s Linux Oddity

Although some analysts and insiders have discussed Linux in religious terms, the recent announcement of Jesux, “the Linux distribution for Christian hackers, schools, families and churches,” has taken the concept to a whole new level. Jesux, originally set to be released in December, has removed such UNIX terms as “kill” and “abort,” and promised both a new Christian-based open-source licensing agreement and a complete electronic version of the King James Bible.

Not surprisingly, Jesux turned out to be a hoax, or “a mental exercise,” created by a UNIX administrator. In an explanatory post this week, the anonymous author explained that although there was hate mail generated by the stunt, there was also a tremendous amount of support for the idea. “If it doesn’t hurt anyone, and there is an apparent need,” read the post, “go do it.”

Linux Security Watch

A security advisory was issued this week by Teso Crew regarding a vulnerability that could potentially affect users who are running the Linux kernel version 2.2.x. According to the advisory, “a weakness within the TCP stack” could “make it possible to blind-spoof TCP connections.”

“By sending packets from a trusted source,” continued the advisory, “attackers could possibly bypass address-based authentication and security mechanisms.” Linux developers have been notified. Linux kernel 2.2.x users are requested to check with their software vendor or the Teso Web site for patch or fix information.

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