KRUD: An Up-To-Date RedHat|
By Thiravudh Khoman
One of the major strengths of Linux is that it is an open source product. Open source means that any problems detected in Linux or its associated programs can be fixed by anyone who has the desire and/or knowledge to do so since source code is available. These fixes are subsequently made freely available as well.
As can be expected, there is a steady flow of fixes and improvements. Where Linux is used for a critical application or in a critical environment, these fixes can be extremely important, especially the security-related ones. Obtaining your Linux from the major vendors hardly insures this since by the time their distribution CD's are pressed and sold, numerous other fixes are bound to exist.
Availability, however, doesn't mean that these fixes are easy to come by, as it may be necessary to track them down from dozens of sources. Meanwhile, security advisories may not even come in the form of program fixes, but may require monitoring and digesting the relevant newsgroups. Keeping abreast of these changes therefore can be a very difficult and time-consuming job.
Assuming that you've thrown your lot in with RedHat's distribution of Linux, there's an easier way to obtain the latest and greatest updates and patches. Kevin Fenzi, one of the co-authors of the Linux security HOW-TO, makes available a distribution of RedHat Linux called "KRUD" (Kevin's Red Hat Über Distribution). Each release of KRUD contains the latest version of RedHat PLUS the most up-to-date security and application errata. (Note: The latest KRUD dated 01-Feb-2000 is based on RedHat Linux v6.1.) KRUD's home page is located at https://www.tummy.com/krud/.
Besides the errata, Kevin also removes some stuff he feels are unnecessary while adding a few more apps, thus filling the KRUD CD to the brim. Most notable is an easy to use firewalling script called "InsinGlass". A full listing of the "Base" and "Extra" packages in KRUD may be found at https://www.tummy.com/krud/packages/.
Buying vs Subscribing
KRUD may be purchased either as a one-time CD or as a yearly subscription (1 CD/month), the U.S. prices being US$5 and US$55 respectively. It costed me US$9 to get a one-time CD airmailed to Thailand. Thus, I assume a subscription to Thailand should cost about US$99 per year. Purchases may be made online, with delivery expected in about 2 weeks or so.
Although Kevin has added a few special goodies to KRUD, I'm not planning on doing a hands-on review of it (at least not yet). After all, KRUD is pretty much standard RedHat Linux.
By the way, if you're interested in the various distributions of Linux, Linux Weekly News at https://www.lwn.net is an excellent jumping off point. Click the "Distributions" link at the left hand column, and when the page finishes displaying, scroll down a bit and you'll see all the Linux distributions (and links to them) on the right side. Well perhaps not all, but at least Thailand's KW Linux (https://www.kaiwal.com) is there now.