It seems Ubuntu is in news for wrong reasons these days. Last week, Canonical (parent company of Ubuntu) sent trademark violation notice to a website criticizing Ubuntu for privacy issues. Today, in a mailing list, Canonical engineer Oliver Grawert has termed Linux Mint a vulnerable system and Linux Mint team is obviously not happy with it.
Linux Mint unsafe for online banking?
At least that’s what Canonical dev Oliver thinks. In the mail discussion about Ubuntu Mate flavor, Oliver criticized Linux Mint for holding up the security updates. He said:
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
Linux Mint is not unstable like Ubuntu!
Responding to the unnecessary controversy generated by this remark, Clem from Linux Mint wrote a short post. Clem pointed out that one can easily change the update preference (to higher level) and get the security updates as soon as possible. The reason why it is not instantly available by default is due to regression issues. A new update might bring some regression and thus make the system unstable, which Linux Mint team does not want.
We explained in 2007 what the shortcomings were with the way Ubuntu recommends their users to blindly apply all available updates. We explained the problems associated with regressions and we implemented a solution we’re very happy with.
Anybody running Mint can launch Update Manager -> Edit -> Preferences and enable level 4 and 5 updates, thus making their Linux Mint as “Secure” and “Unstable” as Ubuntu.
All is well, really!
Honestly, I feel like the matter ha been blown out of proportion by the press. Even I used a sensational headline In a discussion about a new Ubuntu desktop flavor, a Canonical dev pointed out some practices by Linux Mint which are not favored by Ubuntu. He exaggerated his point of view by terming it unfit for online banking. Since it was a critical issue of security, Linux Mint has to respond to the panicked users.
All in all, the war of words might continue for some days between the users, if not the teams itself. Its a bit sad to see the hype around trivial issue. I hope Linux Mint will not be hit by this incident and they will come up with the awesome Linux Mint 16.