LinuxWorld: 2.6 kernel cures some security shortcomings

Friday, 8 August 2003, 8:11 AM EST

Concerns about security may keep some IT shops from choosing Linux. Those concerns aren't justified, says Dan Frye, director of IBM Corp.'s Linux Technology Center. In this interview, Frye discusses Linux's few security shortcomings and the security advances coming in the 2.6 kernel.

Are there gaps in enterprise Linux security today?

Frye: The technology exists today to create and manage reasonably secure environments for Linux enterprises. In the hands of a competent administrator, Linux is roughly as secure as the other operating systems. That's not to say that improvements aren't needed. [In] the next version of the kernel, we'll have significant security enhancements, particularly in the area of policies. So enterprise Linux security continues to improve. It's good, but it will continue to improve.

What's missing today is the ability to set policy in radically different ways. The next release of the Linux kernel will have a formal architecture that allows different policies, different attributes, to be added by users. It's not that there are weaknesses in Linux security so much as these features in the next kernel will improve the flexibility to set different levels of policy.

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