Article posted on Oct 23
Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of Finnix 103, the nineteenth release of Finnix, and marks three months since the release of Finnix 102, and six years since the relaunch of Finnix 86.0 in 2005. Finnix 103 includes a new forensic mode, RNG entropy gathering, a minor kernel update, a large number of bug fixes, new packages and new minor features.
Finnix 103 includes a new forensic mode. When booted with the "forensic" or "forensics" boot flags, Finnix changes its behavior to minimize the chance of loading suspect code or writing to suspect media. These changes include cryptographic hash verification of discovered Finnix CD media, locking block devices, and avoiding swap, LVM, RAID, crypt and network autodetection. For more information, see the Forensics page on finnix.org.
Modern Linux distributions add to their random number generator (RNG) entropy pool by saving some random data before shutdown, and adding it back into the pool during startup. A LiveCD cannot normally do this, so Finnix includes a new feature to generate random data to be fed into the pool via a method that relies on the separation of a computer's CPU and RTC. By default 8 bytes are generated during each Finnix startup (due to the time it takes to generate data via this method), but a new utility wrapper, "finnix-generate-entropy" is included to generate a full pool's worth of entropy (currently 4096 bytes). For more information, see this blog post on finnie.org.
Article posted on Oct 19
If you're the type who is delighted by tables and number and maps with markers on them (and hey, who isn't?), there is now a Finnix mirror status site at mirrors.finnix.org. There you can see the current status of Finnix mirrors, see when they were last synced, and test GeoIP functionality.
One thing that is immediately evident by the global mirror map is that it isn't very global. Most of the mirrors are located in the eastern half of North America. The remaining are one in Idaho, one in California (temporarily provided by me through Colobox Networks to service the west coast), and one in Greece. If your organization can provided mirror services for Finnix and are particularly located in one of the following regions, I'd like to hear from you:
Any new mirrors would be appreciated, but I would like to especially focus on those regions. More information for mirror providers is available at the main mirrors site. Thank you.