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VNUnet: Ecommerce spurs race to develop secure OS

Feb 21, 2000, 16:43 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lee Kimber)

"Leading the way, at least in terms of its ability to generate publicity, is Bastille Linux, a project based on the Red Hat Linux distribution that aims to create a secure Linux suitable for the tens of thousands of new Linux users. Originally proposed to solve the problem of distributing a free, self-installing copy of Linux to new users in universities, the stunning popularity of Linux as a web and FTP server has convinced its co-operative team of Open Source developers to make Bastille Linux suitable for non-academic users. They would typically be the lone network manager that configures and maintains internet-facing systems in small to medium-sized businesses.

Bastille Linux's development team, co-ordinated by University of Maryland administrator Jon Lasser, is trying to solve that problem by scripting the Linux install routine to lock the system down tightly. But they want the installation routine to ask administrators if they want particular options enabled and crucially to explain the implications of saying 'yes'.

'As far as security goes Linux security is excellent - for those who have the time and knowledge to secure it properly,' says Lasser. 'All we're doing is making that part easier. It's a very small piece of the puzzle.' However, each part of the puzzle requires an enormous amount of work."

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