We here at the F-Secure Linux team are currently working hard on our next major release, preliminarily scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2007. There’s going to be quite a few changes, and the whole feature set is not even completely decided yet. A lot of it depends on customer and partner feedback during the project as well as from previous versions, which is why we have decided to make a public Technology Preview at this relatively early stage. It should be noted that this is in early alpha stage - although we continuously test our builds and try to make sure it doesn’t crash and burn too badly, some of it contains very new code working deeply within your kernel, still wet behind its ears. In short: do not run it on a production machine under any circumstances. It can possibly crash your computer, and even (although unlikely) make it unable to boot without deep repair magic involved. I recommend using a virtualized environment (such as VMware) to try this out.
Despite these warnings, based on what we’ve heard from customers, I think this release has some eagerly-anticipated features.
Here’s a short summary of the things we’re bringing out:
- Our current sister products Linux Client Security and Linux Server Security will be merged into one product called F-Secure Linux Security. By using different keycodes, the user can choose what feature set to purchase.
- On the same theme, you will be able to entirely disable parts of the product that you do not need. For example, on a centrally managed installation where the end-user need not interact with the product, one can disable the web user-interface to conserve resources. If you already have an existing firewall management infrastructure in place, you can disable the firewall component. This has previously been done by many customers by simply removing the corresponding
/etc/opt/f-secure/fsma/modules, but hopefully you can now do the same in a much cleaner and well-supported way.
- The installer will be simplified to not ask any questions upon installation. Instead, the customer can tweak needed settings using command-line tools, the web user-interface or the Policy Manager after installation. Of course, we will still support supplying the
--autocommand-line option to configure the product directly upon installation.
- We will provide better integration with the modern desktops with native alert notifications.
- Of course, under the hood there are tons of changes aimed at improving stability, usability and support for new technologies and platforms. One notable change is that we have decided to drop support for some old platforms like Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, where maintaining compatibility would increase complexity regards to both product code base and testing efforts, with little added benefit. However, the final set of supported distributions is not decided yet - it will be decided as the project nears completion, after discussions with customers and partners.
To check out the Technology Preview, first read the release notes! Really, please do. It contains important information about known problems and the new installation and setup procedure. We haven’t got any manual ready yet, so the release notes is the closest thing you’ll get.
Please email us your feedback about the Technology Preview! You can find the address at the bottom of the page. If your feedback includes a bug report, please remember to mention which distribution (name and version) you’re using as well as kernel version.