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'Kill yourself now' - Torvalds throws openSUSE security tantrum

Root password protocol 'mentally diseased'

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Linux creator Linus Torvalds has issued a rare public spanking for openSUSE after falling foul of its security procedures.

Torvalds has posted a rant on Google+ about his experience installing openSUSE on a MacBook Air. The installation requires the root password for many functions and he went to the Bugzilla thread to argue that this was a stupid policy, which got changes in some areas of the code, like adding wireless networks.

But the straw that broke the penguin's back was when his daughter Daniela called him from school to complain that she couldn’t add a printer to her computer without the root password. Linus lost it, and went public with his complaints.

"If you have anything to do with security in a distro, and think that my kids (replace "my kids" with "sales people on the road" if you think your main customers are businesses) need to have the root password to access some wireless network, or to be able to print out a paper, or to change the date-and-time settings, please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place," he said.

Torvalds has come in for criticism for not using bypass code in openSUSE to eliminate some of the need for root password access, and has been slammed for taking the rant public.

"I wouldn't call him 'moronic' - he's proven his level of genius. But, it's incredibly juvenile and short-sighted not to see that others may have real-world business related concerns for heightened security on their laptops, and not everyone just tosses their laptop at their daughter to jump on the insecure junior high school networks," posted Texan certified fraud examiner Andy Prough.

In an email conversation with El Reg openSUSE acknowledged there may be bugs (as with any software.) But Andreas Jaeger, director of openSUSE, said that there were issues with NetworkManager in version 12.1 and this is now fixed. The situation with printing and time zone changes that Torvalds raised are also more nuanced he said.

"I agree with Linus saying that there are bugs but it's not as simple as he states," he explained.®

Reducing security risks from open source software

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