Linux updates: Debian 7.5, SolydXK 201404, Makulu, Tanglu

A new stable point release for Debian GNU/Linux (Wheezy), an Update Pack for SolydXK (201404), and updates for MakuluLinux and Tanglu Aequorea Victoria
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

There has been lots of news about updates in the Linux world over the past couple of weeks. I think it might be useful to summarise what has happened with the distributions that I most often use.

The Debian GNU/Linux stable branch (Wheezy) got a new point-release update last weekend, with the 7.5 installer packages now available. First, and most important, be aware that if you are currently running any Debian 7.x release, and you have been keeping up with normal updates, then you already have everything that is in this minor release — there is no need to reinstall or do anything else. If you want to be sure, you can check the file /etc/debian_release or you can run the command lsb_release -a.

The release announcement gives a summary of the update, and has lists of bug fixes and security updates that are included.

There will be new ISO images available on the Debian web site for this release, but it takes some time for those to be produced and distributed, so if you go charging over there right now to get them, you are likely to be disappointed. The last images to be updated are usually the "Live ISO" distribution, by the way.

Regarding the infamous Heartbleed vulnerability, the openssl fix is of course included in this release, but the update for existing installations was distributed the same day that the vulnerability was publicly announced anyway, so once again if you have been keeping your Debian systems updated, then you have been protected from this vulnerability since a few hours after it was made public anyway.

The SolydXK family of distributions also got a major update recently (hmm, well, nearly two weeks ago now, sorry to be slow reporting on this one), with Update Pack 201404. This is their first Update Pack since changing from a monthly to a quarterly interval, so it is good to see this get out on time. 

There are lots of important updates in this — I believe that in ranges from 500MB to nearly 1GB in size, depending on what version and how much you have installed. The update announcement describes the major changes, and includes lists, and gives update installation instructions. Make sure that you read this announcement before installing the update, it contains important information and instructions for installing the update.

There will also be new ISO images produced and distributed with the Update Pack included, but those don't appear to have hit the mirrors yet either — I just checked, and they are still offering the 201401 images. Please remember, the new ISO images are only important if you are going to make a new SolydXK installation. For existing installations, it is not necessary to reinstall — just install the Update Pack.

MakuluLinux MATE has also gotten a number of updates in the past couple of weeks, with Build 6.1 released. There are significant updates and fixes for the MATE 1.8 desktop: the biggest thing is a fix for a rather nasty bug in MATE that would cause the panel not to be displayed (I can vouch for how disturbing this was). Other good news for me, they have further reduced the number of questions asked by the post-install scripts. Well done.

Finally, Tanglu Linux, a Debian derivative that I installed a month or two ago and have been intermittently testing, has also gotten some new updates. No release notes or additional description on these, just get them installed via synaptic or apt-get and get on with your business.

So, keep your Linux systems up to date. As several recent flaws and vulnerabilities have shown us, this is very important.

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