February 25th, 2011

winter
  • shams

Solar Designer on Owl, OpenVZ and stuff: things you ached to know even if you didn't realize you did

Openwall GNU/*/Linux recently has released version 3.0. Owl project (yeah, you can call it Owl,too, which stands for Openwall Linux) is afloat around ten years, and it's an active and evolving. One of the neat features of Owl 3.0 is OpenVZ support. That was exactly the item which we got excited about, so we asked Solar (and he agreed kindly!) for a short interview.

— When someone is trying to find out what do you do, they mostly come across that you developed John the Ripper, currently lead the Owl project and participate in different open source security projects. Perhaps there are some new fancy things you're busy with, could you tell us a bit about it?

— This is nothing fancy, but besides the things you mentioned, we (some folks on the Openwall team) spend plenty of time on related client-facing work, including setting up and maintaining Owl/OpenVZ systems remotely, with lots of additional software running on top of them. This is one reason why our Live CDs include SSH remote access, after trivial initial configuration by someone with physical access or over IP-KVM. Then we can proceed with installation starting with partitioning of the hard disks while working over SSH. Besides providing income, which is much needed to fund Owl development and our other activities, this also ensures that we're testing our stuff under real-world usage conditions, and it provides stability for the project (we won't unexpectedly “lose interest” in it one day; we're going to continue to need updates for those systems that we're responsible for ourselves). Collapse )