Openwall GNU/*/Linux - a small security-enhanced Linux distro for servers
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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2011 19:02:05 -0400
From: "Mike O'Connor" <mjo@...o.mi.org>
To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Closed list

:----- Original Message -----
:>
:> Your initial e-mail indicated we would be part of this new group since we
:> where a vendor-sec member. Now there are new requirements we have to
:> meet. Is there a possibility of a probationary period so we can try to
:> comply to these new requirements and still be on the closed list?
:>
:
:I don't want to start arguing technicalities, semantics, or politics. Here
:is my current view, I'm going to leave the final decision up to Solar
:Designer, I view this as Openwall's list.
:
:We have rejected certain membership requests because they are not currently
:releasing security updates. I agree with this policy, I would say my
:initial mail was too vague. This instance is no different. It's clear that
:one of the membership requirements is now producing security updates.  If
:you can show you're doing this, that's grounds for membership in my
:opinion.

Josh, I think in your quest to make things less vague, you may have
actually made them more vague.

"security updates" and "public advisories" aren't the same thing,
That's not just a semantic distinction.  There's many s vendors who
release security updates, but not necessarily public advisories on
them.  They may have constituencies that would simply get confused 
by advisories, or they have auto-update mechanisms, or part of their
support model involves pushing their customers to keep up with all
fixes, security or otherwise.  They may simply thing that advisories
are a waste of time because customers don't read.  

For linux-distros, I think what you really want to go for here are
*timely* updates.  If a distro isn't generally capable of producing a
security update within, say, a month of when the issue was released,
then their getting the issue in advance through linux-distros isn't
going to do them or their distro community a lot of good because they
have other constraints in getting fixes out the door.  Focusing on how
you think an update ought to *look* (e.g. should the advisories be
public?) isn't as important as the update getting *out*.  Especially
since you're dealing with GPL'ed code, I think that's something you
can measure.  Just ask the constituency a month or so after some major
kernel issue who has released updates/fixes and who hasn't, show the
relevant source, and take it from there.

Take it for what it's worth...
-Mike

-- 
 Michael J. O'Connor                                          mjo@...o.mi.org
 =--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--=
"I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous."                -Anguished English

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