Today marks the release of Mandriva Linux 2009.0 (the 23rd Mandriva release!) and for the first time in probably 5 years, I was actually involved with it's development. =) The last few years I've stepped away from any sort of a developers role simply due to lack of time (security updates keep me real busy), and also because I didn't like having to fight my way into getting something I felt was important included (for those that are aware, that was one of my primary reasons for developing Annvix on the side).

Anyways, this release was different in many ways. For one, I actually got my fingers into the pot in quite a "low level" way, which has never happened before (largely because it was never permitted in the past). I guess it's probably due to the leaving of some people and perhaps a little more persistence on my part. I'd also like to think that earlier this year, for the first time in the 8 years of working for Mandriva, I actually met my co-workers in France face-to-face. Strangely enough, that made an amazingly huge impact on how we relate and work together. I guess for everyone we now know there are "real people" on the other side of that email message or IRC comment. I must admit, that face-to-face has really helped and I actually regret not having gone over there before.

Anyways, the development stuff I was involved in this time was some extra pam work (getting the tcb suite integrated which includes pam_tcb (to replace pam_unix) and the extras that come with it to offer a more secure authentication system (although we did find out that poorly designed screensavers meant we had to reduce some of the security benefits of using pam_tcb in order to accommodate their bad design)). Also, I was the one that incorporated the "know how" from Annvix to get blowfish support into glibc (which inadvertently broke the sha512c support in glibc.. we'll get that fixed eventually). So now, Mandriva Linux 2009 uses tcb and blowfish passwords by default (although tcb is using the shadow scheme by default, not the tcb scheme). This is really important since the next version of Corporate Server will be presumably based on 2009, which means it will get tcb support and also means that Corporate Server 5 will be similar to Annvix in some of it's hardening features).

I won't deny it was trying and time-consuming... =) Juggling security updates, tcb integration/testing/debugging, and bugzilla maintenance has definitely taken it's toll. I think the end result is really great though. I have two systems left to upgrade to 2009 before they're all using it and have had very few problems (some minor issues with the EeePC that eventually got worked through was about it).

So congrats to everyone involved with the 2009 development! From what I can see so far, this is a really good release. Of course, now that it's released, I'll have a busy 2 weeks ahead of me doing all the bugfix updates, but it's all good. There's really only two times of the year that I get super busy in a 3 week stretch, and that's the week prior and the two weeks after a release. This week has gone much smoother than past releases (despite the nasty cold I obtained from the Opeth concert last week!), so I'm hoping that the next two weeks are just as smooth (busy I expect, smooth would be an added bonus).

To get your very own copy of the shiny new release, head to the downloads page or the torrent list. To get the details of what's all new in the release, check out the 2009.0 Release Tour. Enjoy!