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Shaping the Future of Linux: Karim Allah Ahmed

When Karim Allah Ahmed was 13 years old, he fell in love with computers. And just like a first love, everything about his newfound passion felt totally thrilling—and completely foreign. Linux was one of those things. While he didn’t know what it was, exactly, he felt an overwhelming urge to embrace it...

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The Cracking of Kernel.org

As has recently been announced on the main kernel.org page, the main kernel.org server (known as “hera”) was recently compromised by an unknown intruder. This person was able to gain “root” access, meaning they had the full run of the system. Speaking as just one of many members of the kernel development community, I can say that this episode is disturbing and embarrassing. But I can also say that there is no need to worry about the integrity of the kernel source or of any other software hosted on the kernel.org systems.

Kernel.org is, of course, the home for the Linux kernel. Many other projects live there as well. On the face of it, that would make kernel.org a tempting target for an attack. What self-respecting cracker wouldn’t want an opportunity to place some special code into the Linux kernel? Such code would, over time, find its way into millions of machines worldwide. The injection of backdoors or other malware is a concern for any software maintainer - open source or otherwise - but it turns out that we are well protected against that sort of attack. If kernel developers worked by shipping simple files of source code around, they might well be vulnerable to malware added by an intruder. But that is not how kernel development is done. The code for the kernel (and for many other projects) is managed with the “git” source code management system. And git does not allow the code to be modified by third parties without people knowing about it.

It’s worth taking a moment to look at how that works. A cryptographic “hashing function” is a mathematical formula which boils the contents of a file down to a small number. “Small” is relative; git’s hash function produces 160-bit numbers, which are quite big by...

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The People Shaping the Future of Linux

We recently announced the winners of the first-ever Linux Foundaiton Linux Training Scholarship Program. During the month of September, we'll be sharing their stories with you. First, please let us introduce you to Arpit Toshniwal.

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As Linux Moves Into a New Decade, Companies Look for Linux Talent

The Linux community has been united around the globe over the last few weeks in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Linux. As we head into a new decade, many of The Linux Foundation's members are looking for Linux talent to help advance the OS into the future.

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Reflections from LinuxCon

I just returned from a great trip to Vancouver for LinuxCon North America 2011.  Here’s a quick (and visual) report on the proceedings, with a bias toward the FOSS compliance presentations.

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