1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Canonical Developer Criticizes Linux Mint's Security

Operating Systems

Published on 17 November 2013 10:04 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems
97 Comments

While Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu's package-set, a Canonical developer has criticized the popular Ubuntu derivative for its handling of packaging upgrades that could leave the system in a vulnerable state.

Phoronix reader Brendan tipped us off today to an interesting mailing list post earlier this month when discussing the potential of an Ubuntu MATE Remix, a version of Ubuntu Linux that would incorporate the GNOME-forked MATE desktop by default.

Ubuntu Linux developer Oliver Grawert had originally pointed out that security updates from Ubuntu don't necessarily get down to Linux Mint users since changes from X.Org, the kernel, Firefox, the boot-loader, and other core components are blocked from being automatically upgraded. Linux Mint doesn't send down updates for some Ubuntu packages automatically due to having their own customizations, etc.

The list of update rules can be found via GitHub as pointed out by Oliver in a follow-up post. Grawert explained, "this is the list of packages it will never update, instead of just integrating changes properly with the packagaes in the ubuntu archive they instead suppress doing (security) updates at all for them. i would say forcefully keeping a vulnerable kernel browser or xorg in place instead of allowing the provided security updates to be installer makes it a vulnerable system, yes. i personally wouldn't do online banking with it ;)"

Another Ubuntu developer, Benjamin Kerensa, added, "It is unclear why Linux Mint disables all of their security updates although to some degree they have tried to justify their disabling of kernel updates by suggesting that such updates could make a system unstable and that normal users shouldn't get these kinds of updates. Anyways it is something that might be better researched on their forums since people have asked a few times over the past couple years, and they probably have a better idea than us. I can say that it took them many months to get a fixed version of Firefox packaged while Ubuntu and Debian had already had security fixes in their package. This puts Linux Mint users at risk and is one of the key reasons I never suggest Linux Mint to anyone as an alternative to Ubuntu."

Update: There's a comment on the matter from the Linux Mint perspective over on their blog with their reasoning.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Articles & Reviews
  1. Intel Broadwell: GCC 4.9 vs. LLVM Clang 3.5 Compiler Benchmarks
  2. Ubuntu vs. Fedora Linux On Lenovo's X1 Carbon With Core i7 Broadwell
  3. Ubuntu 15.04 Is The Easy Path To Better Performance On Intel Broadwell
  4. NVIDIA's Latest Maxwell Line-Up Against AMD With Catalyst On Linux
  5. Preliminary Tests Of Intel Sandy Bridge & Ivy Bridge vs. Broadwell
  6. AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux
Latest Linux News
  1. I Switched (Back) Over To Fedora As My Main OS & It's Going Great!
  2. Windows 10, PS4, C4 & Systemd News Kicked Off 2015
  3. Calamares 1.0 Distribution-Independent Installer Framework Released
  4. Librem 15 Linux Laptop Set To Close At Around $400k USD
  5. Virtual GEM To Increase Mesa's Software Rasterizer Performance
  6. Open Lunchbox: Yet Another Open-Source Laptop Attempt
  7. Wayland/Weston 1.7 Release Candidate
  8. Bugzilla 5.0 Is Coming Soon With New Features
  9. Linux Benchmarking... Even Faster & A Very Interesting February
  10. Does VirtualBox VM Have Much A Future Left?
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. PlayStation 4 System Compiler Support Landing In LLVM
  2. Does VirtualBox VM Have Much A Future Left?
  3. Linux "GHOST" Vulnerability Hits Glibc Systems
  4. LibreOffice 4.4 Is Coming Soon With New Features
  5. LLVM Adds Options To Do Fuzz Testing
  6. Broadwell Linux Ultrabook Running MUCH Cooler Than Haswell
  7. LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Better OOXML Support, UI Improvements
  8. Inkscape 0.91 Goes Through C++ Code Conversion, New Cairo Rendering, OpenMP Filters