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Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 04:58:54 +0300
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Linux; new Owl ISO


This is to announce a couple of things at once:

1. Linux is out:

This is merely an update of the patch to the new kernel
release, which fixes a number of security-related bugs:

One of these is documented as "fs: pipe.c null pointer dereference".
Let me use this opportunity to remind you that having vm.mmap_min_addr
set to a non-zero value is a must (e.g., it is set to 98304 on the
system I'm typing this on).  There are way too many NULL pointer
dereference bugs and they are and will be getting discovered too often
for reasonably keeping systems up-to-date with the fixes.  A better
strategy may be to treat possible vm.mmap_min_addr bypass bugs as higher
severity ones, simply because there's an expectation that there are a
lot fewer of these (if any are still left).  This is the strategy we're
going to use for Owl.  vm.mmap_min_addr has defaulted to non-zero
(specifically, 32768) in -ow patches and thus on Owl systems for a while.
Thus, we're not treating NULL pointer dereference bugs as "local root"
ones; instead, we'd treat possible vm.mmap_min_addr bypasses as such.

2. There's a new Owl-current ISO image for 32-bit x86 (generated on
November 17) available on our FTP mirrors:

There's also a direct download link (using one of the mirrors) right on
the Owl homepage:

This is a very minor update.  It uses Linux as the kernel.

Quite possibly, this is the last Owl ISO snapshot to use a 2.4 kernel,
as we're working on fully switching Owl to 2.6 kernels.


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