Does Microsoft secretly still hate Linux?

Also in today's open source roundup: Five Linux distros that break the mold, and Google releases the largest Android security update.

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Five Linux distros that break the mold

Linux offers an amazing range of choices in terms of distributions, but many of them resemble each other in various ways. This can make it hard for folks to find distros that are different enough to be interesting alternatives. Fortunately, a writer at FOSS Force has a list of Linux distros that break the mold and offer a different kind of experience.

Christine Hall reports:

One of the complaints we hear sometimes about the plethora of GNU/Linux distributions is that they're all "cookie cutters." One is just like the other, we're told, so why have so many versions of the same thing? For starters, except for a couple of rare instances, no two Linux distros are exactly alike, not even when they start with the same base. T

The most obvious example here would be Ubuntu, which although based on Debian, offers the user an experience completely different from the parent distro. Likewise, Linux Mint is built with Ubuntu under the hood, but as many Mint users will attest, the distro is hardly just a rebranded *buntu.

Here's a brief look at five distros that really break the mold. A few of them are the result of some out-of-the-box thinking. Others are designed for specific purposes. What they all have in common is that they're not your daddy's Linux distro.

Stale

NixOS

Kali Linux

Tiny Core Linux

RLSD (Retro Linux-libre Software Distribution)

More at FOSS Force

Google releases the largest Android security update yet

Security is an ongoing battle on all computing platforms, and Android is no exception. Google has just released its largest security update ever, and it fixes a wide range of problems on Android.

Fahmida Y. Rashid reports for InfoWorld:

With fixes for 39 vulnerabilities in Android, the April Nexus Security Bulletin is the largest security update from Google since the company began the monthly update process eight months ago.

Google fixed 15 vulnerabilities rated as critical, 16 rated as high, and eight as moderate in the latest monthly bulletin, across 26 different components, including DHCPCD, Mediaserver, Bluetooth, Exchange ActiveSync, Wi-Fi, Telephony, media codec, video kernel driver, and Debuggerd. The update also covers the March 18 out-of-band emergency patch fixing a local privilege escalation flaw in the Android kernel.

The privilege escalation flaw was originally patched in 2014 in the Linux kernel, and researchers reported the same bug (CVE–2015–1805) affected Android devices earlier this year. Zimperium researchers reported that an app capable of exploiting the vulnerability to root Nexus 5 devices was available in the wild in March, prompting Google to release the emergency patch. At the time, Google said attackers could abuse the flaw to gain root privileges on Android devices on kernel versions 3.4, 3.10, and 3.14. Nexus 5 and 6 devices are vulnerable too, Google said.

The Verify Apps feature in Android also blocks installation of apps from outside of Google Play that attempt to exploit the vulnerability, making it harder for attackers to abuse.

More at InfoWorld

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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