URLs du Jour

2009-11-20

  • Blogging's been light recently due to a presentation I gave to fellow geeks on recently-discovered flaws in Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols and their implementations. These are the protocols on which a lot of network security depends, so flaws tend to be a pretty big deal.

    If you'd like to get the gist, a bunch of links I used in preparation are here. I especially liked this illustration of how much easier things were, security-wise, back in the olden days:

    Trojan Horse

    Click for the full-size version. Very funny.

  • In addition, the latest version of my Linux distribution-of-choice, Fedora 12, was released earlier this week. It's now running on my work desktop machine; very little pain involved, other than that I voluntarily inflicted upon myself:

    • A fresh install, rather than an upgrade. My idea was that I could re-customize the system with only the features I wanted, possibly shedding some of the cruft that builds up on a system after months of experimentation and use.

      That's fine, but re-installing the "wanted" features on top of the clean install took a little time.

    • Fedora 12 installs "Security-Enhanced Linux" (SELinux) by default. It sounds like such a swell idea! Who could be against security?

      The problem being that SELinux "enhances" security by preventing a lot of things I was used to doing (quite securely, thank you). There are workarounds, but each new SELinux error requires its own special workaround, involving interpretation of obscure messages. I was up to around 50 before I gave up.

      I'm in concurrence with Jamie Zawinski:

      This is the biggest, most uselessly time-wasting piece of shit since the last time they rewrote the firewall code from scratch.
      That's one of the milder things he says.

    • While I was whacking on stuff, I dismayed about all the terminal windows cluttering my screen. (Yes, I'm kind of old-school: I do most of my work in terminal windows, hopelessly devoted to the Linux command line.) Most of these windows get created en masse by a startup script; I want them around, but not in my face. Is there any way to get them to be created in a minimized state (i.e., down in the task bar)?

      Yes, as it turns out. I installed the Devil's Pie utility, a very flexible beastie that will watch the windows created during your session and automatically do any number of things based on one or more of their characteristics. Very nice!

    The home machine gets upgraded this weekend. The plan is to attempt a repartitioning of its hard drive with no data loss. And my wireless card was a huge pain to get working on an existing Fedora 11 base; hopefully a fresh install will go cleaner.

    But if you hear howls and curses from the general direction of Rollinsford, New Hampshire over the next few days, you'll know it didn't go exactly as planned.

  • Which brings us to: Cracked's article on Linux. For example, you might have heard of Ubuntu:
    Ubuntu, and all of its incarnations, is touted as being Linux for everyday people. Of course, that's like saying that heroin is for people who aren't comfortable taking aspirin, but you know. Whatever.
    That's the longest quote I could find in the article that wasn't filthy, so be prepared if you click over.

  • Good article on Sarah Palin from Jonah Goldberg. I thought this was particularly apt:
    I'm fairly certain that if you read many of her public-policy positions but concealed her byline, many of her worst enemies would say "that sounds about right," and some of her biggest fans would say "that sounds crazy." But most people would say that her views are perfectly within the mainstream of American politics. She may be more religious than coastal elites in the lower 48, but that is something some bigots need to get over, anyway.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 9:02 AM EDT