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 Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Even With Re-Clocking, Nouveau Remains Behind NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver
  2. The Power Consumption & Efficiency Of Open-Source GPU Drivers
  3. AMD R600g/RadeonSI Performance On Linux 3.16 With Mesa 10.3-devel
  4. Intel Pentium G3258 On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Nouveau vs. Radeon vs. Intel Tests On Linux 3.16, Mesa 10.3-devel
  2. KVM Benchmarks On Ubuntu 14.10
  3. X.Org Server 1.16 Officially Released With Terrific Features
  4. Ubuntu With Linux 3.16 Smashes OS X 10.9.4 On The MacBook Air
Latest Linux News
  1. Grand Theft Auto Running On Direct3D Natively On Linux Shows Gallium3D Potential
  2. GCC As A Just-In Time Compiler Is An Interesting Project
  3. Age Of Wonders III Is Still Being Ported To Linux
  4. Git 2.1 To Further Mainline Windows Support Patches
  5. Debian 8.0 Jessie Is Settling For Linux 3.16
  6. Meson: A Next-Gen Build System Showing Promise
  7. Linux 3.16-rc7 Calms Things Down For The Linux 3.16 Kernel
  8. Open-Source AMD Users Report Hawaii GPU Acceleration Is Working
  9. Linus Torvalds On GCC 4.9: Pure & Utter Crap
  10. Cauldron 2014: GCC & LLVM Will Look To Collaborate More
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Linus Torvalds On GCC 4.9: Pure & Utter Crap
  2. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  3. Porting Mesa to the Playstation 2
  4. ASRock AM1H-ITX: One Of The Best AM1 Mini-ITX Motherboards
  5. Debian + radeonsi
  6. Open-source drivers on ATI R7 260X
  7. Table test
  8. How To Setup Radeon DPM On Ubuntu Linux