BSDCon '03 Abstract
Pp. 29-34 of the Proceedings
An Automated Binary Security Update System for FreeBSD
Colin Percival, Computing Lab, Oxford University
With the present trend towards increased reliance upon computer systems,
the provision and prompt application of security patches is becoming vital.
Developers of all operating systems must generally be applauded for their
success in this area; systems administrators, however, are often found
Anecdotal evidence suggests that for FreeBSD much of the difficulty arises
out of the need to recompile from the source code after applying security
patches. Many people, after spending years using closed-source
point-and-click operating systems, find the concept of recompiling software
to be entirely foreign, and even veteran users of open source software are
often less than prompt about applying updates. Providing these people with
a binary option should significantly improve the rate at which security
updates are applied.
This paper describes an automated system for building and distributing
binary security updates for FreeBSD, and describes the challenges
encountered. I also describe some of the limitations of this system, and
discuss some possibilities for future work.
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