System Overlord

A blog about security engineering, research, and general hacking.

Linux Driver Development Bears Fruit

Kernel Developer Greg Kroah-Hartman's offer to develop drivers for hardware vendors just from specifications is beginning to pay off.  The offer, first touted as mere marketing hype, has already added a driver to the kernel and has at least five more in progress.  For details:;58590129;fp;16;fpid;0

Details on Dell's Linux Rollout

I missed this the other day, but Jeremy over at LinuxQuestions has details on the Dell Linux rollout.  Nothing too surprising, fairly basic machines with well supported hardware.  No proprietary media formats, so it seems like a fairly stock Ubuntu install.  No Linux prices yet.

The top-end machine that will be in the initial offering is the XPS 410, which is $899+ with Windows on it.   On the value end is the E520, starting at $369 (Windows price). It looks like the E1505 Notebook will also be offered, which is a fairly basic laptop at $699 (Windows price again).

IP Holding Firms: The Real Threat

Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu Founder, Software Visionary, etc.) has posted an interesting piece on why Microsoft is not a threat to Linux.  He argues that the big threat to Linux (and Microsoft) are the IP holding firms, who essentially exploit the weak IP/patent system we have here in the US.  He makes a clear case why Intellectual Property and Patent Law reforms are necessary to the continued development of software and technology.

3 Things in Linux you should NOT Install

While I'm all for promoting the use of Linux and software on Linux, unless you absolutely know what you're doing, there are certain things you should not install. Entirely too often, I see people on asking how to configure one of these or why they will not work. So, in no particular order, 3 Things you should NOT Install:

'Embedded Linux Primer': A Review

A review originally published on

"Embedded Linux Primer" by Christopher Hallinan is an excellent resource for anyone looking to use Linux in an embedded system.  It does not cover basics, so is more targeted to experienced Linux or embedded systems developers looking to move to Linux embedded systems.

The book covers a variety of topics including the Linux kernel's interaction with hardware, system initialization, design considerations when working with an embedded system, and porting Linux.  The book provides a detailed description of most of these topics, including many step-by-step directions on reference implementations.

The book does not provide command-by-command howtos for many of the steps involved, but the details should be obvious to anyone familiar with basic kernel building and software development.

The book also briefly discusses the new hard real-time support for the Linux kernel, including hardware-specific implementation issues.  It also provides all code samples in the book under the GPL license, though it does not provide a CD.

All in all, I would strongly recommend this book for anyone looking to develop an Embedded Linux System or for anyone curious about the inner workings of the Linux kernel on embedded systems.