Linux Developers Corner
Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Richard Smith
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Posted: 28 Sep 2005
Richard Smith, Novell, Inc.
By the time you read this article openSUSE Linux 10 should have been released by openSUSE.org (http://www.opensuse.org) and you will have access to the best Linux for developers. I've been working with the betas of SUSE Linux 10 for a few months now and can tell you it is amazing what is happening with this product. With each release of SUSE Linux, we see more and more that Linux is becoming a viable platform for the desktop and in the interest of this column, for developers. For the purposes of this article I will refer to the openSUSE.org release of SUSE Linux 10 as openSUSE 10 and the retail version of SUSE Linux 10 as SUSE Linux 10.
When you first examine the packages list when installing you are almost overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications available. While a large number of the packages are background and support focused, there are still a significant number of very useful and important applications included. And one new addition is of particular interest to you as a developer.
If you've ever installed Mono you know that in many cases it can be a challenge to find and install all of the necessary dependencies. OpenSUSE 10 includes a complete package selection option at install time (or later from with the YaSt Software management option) to eliminate the confusion and complexity involved in getting a fully functioning Mono installation done. This installation includes options for all current Mono components including monodevelop.
The selection option for installing all the mono components is located at the bottom of the selection list as illustrated above. Merely check the Mon/CLR option and all of the packages within the selection will be checked. YaST will also insure that any dependencies not already selected will be installed. A confirmation screen regarding these additional packages will appear after you have finished selecting all the options you want on this screen and accept the selections.
As you can see in the following screenshot, openSUSE 10 also offers many other developer tools including a complete Java selection. As with Mono, this selection will insure that all the need components will be installed and configured for you.
All of these developer tools can be installed in other ways but installing through YaST makes the process much less painful than it can be. Often installing all the dependencies can be a time consuming process, YaST (as part of the initial installation) can greatly reduce the time required.
If you need or want extra protection for your critical Linux applications, Novell AppArmor is for you!
Today it seems no one's computer is immune to attacks of all sorts but Novell AppArmor, powered by Immunix, can provide the added security that can minimize the affects of these attacks and simplify the managements of that protection.
Much of this simplification comes from the fact that unlike many other solutions at this type, AppArmor provides much more scalable security by securing individual applications and services as opposed to locking down the entire system. While securing the entire system has advantages, its greatest disadvantages are the complexity and resources required to administer. AppArmor uses individual profiles for each application or service to be protected, thus affecting only what needs protecting while leaving the remainder of the system alone.
If you'd like to get a first hand look at AppArmor, you get a taste for it in SUSE Linux 10 (sorry, it's not currently part of the openSUSE product, but who knows maybe in the future!) and I've included a couple of screenshots here to illustrate some of what it can do. For a more in-depth explanation check out the AppArmor whitepaper at http://www.novell.com/collateral/4821055/4821055.pdf. We will also be providing more coverage of AppArmor here in Cool Solutions for Developers in the future.
AppArmor is integrated into YaST which makes management and configuration a snap. Here is what you see when you install SUSE 10.
These YaST applets for performing the tasks associated with AppArmor will have you up and using the product in short order and can help you through the process of creating profiles for your own applications or other Linux applications you use that could benefit from the added security that AppArmor provides.
To illustrate how detailed a profile can be here is the sample profile included with AppArmor for securing the Evolution data server module.
As you can see you have very granular control over not only what files and folders the AppArmor protected application can access, but exactly how it can do so. This gives you the option to be as detailed or relaxed as you see fit for your individual needs.
AppArmor also can be configured to provide notifications when events occur within the AppArmor secured environment. This will keep you informed as any attacks are made on the applications you have AppArmor enabled.
AppArmor is a very cool tool that can provide additional security around the applications you use and develop. In today's world of attacks and vulnerabilities, we can all use a bit more security.
For more details on AppArmor go to the AppArmor page at http://www.novell.com/products/apparmor/ or purchase a copy of SUSE Linux 10 (available to pre-order here: http://www.novell.com/products/linuxprofessional/preorder.html).
Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions. www.webwiseone.com