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Article from Issue 259/2022
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In the news: Microsoft Expands Their Windows Subsystem for Linux Offerings with AlmaLinux; Debian 11.3 Released with Numerous Bug and Security Fixes; The First Alpha of Asahi Linux Is Available; Zorin OS 16.1 Released with a New Kernel for Better Hardware Compatibility; Red Hat Adds Common Criteria Certification for RHEL 8.2; and Linux Kernel 5.17 Has Finally Arrived.

Microsoft Expands Their Windows Subsystem for Linux Offerings with AlmaLinux

It wasn't an April Fool's prank when Microsoft announced the addition of AlmaLinux (https://almalinux.org/ ) to the line of distributions available for WSL. From the Microsoft Store, it's now possible to download a version of AlmaLinux to run on Windows.

AlmaLinux now joins the growing list of Linux distributions for WSL that includes Ubuntu, OpenSuse Leap, Kali Linux, Debian, Oracle Linux, and Suse Linux Enterprise. This server-centric Linux distribution came into being soon after it was announced that CentOS would be migrating to CentOS Stream back in 2020.

A quick search in the Microsoft Store makes it easy to download and install AlmaLinux 8 for WSL. Just make sure your host system is a PC with either ARM64 or x86 architecture, includes more than 4GB of RAM, and already has Windows Subsystem for Linux installed. The download of AlmaLinux is a svelt 83MB and can run on either Windows 10 or 11. If you don't already have WSL installed on Windows, open Powershell (with elevated privileges) and issue the command wsl --install.

Although this has yet to be announced on the official AlmaLinux blog (https://almalinux.org/blog/), the distribution is officially available in the Microsoft Store and can be added to WSL for free.

Debian 11.3 Released with Numerous Bug and Security Fixes

The developers of Debian have been hard at work patching several security vulnerabilities and fixing bugs for the latest point release of their venerable Linux distribution. This new release fixes numerous security issues surrounding Apache's Log4j (such as CVE-2021-4104, CVE-2022-23302, CVE-2022-23305, and CVE-2022-23307) and includes other security patches for the likes of ClamAV, FLAC, GLibc, Golong, XTerm, atftp, eguardian, glewlwyd, gnupg2, and htmldoc.

Although this release doesn't bring to light any new features, it's still a very important release, and all Debian 11 users should not hesitate to upgrade (especially those who use Debian with the Apache webserver).

The 11.3 release ships with kernel 5-10.0-13, which is patched against the Dirty Pipe vulnerability.

As far as user-facing software, it's important to remember that Debian focuses primarily on stability, so many apps might seem out of date. For instance, the version of LibreOffice shipped is 7.0.4-2, which is an LTS release. Although this version might be missing some of the new features of LibreOffice 7.3, it's a very stable version, so it's on-brand for Debian.

Get your copy of Debian 11.3 (https://www.debian.org/download) and make sure to check out the full release notes (https://www.debian.org/News/2022/20220326) for the distribution.

The First Alpha of Asahi Linux Is Available

For anyone looking to install Linux on Apple Silicon, that task has been next to impossible … until Asahi Linux came into being. The announcement of the project came some time ago, but only recently have the developers finally announced the release of the alpha version of the OS.

This first release will contain bugs and doesn't include all features that will be found in the final release. Some of the features that do not yet work include DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, HDMI, Bluetooth, GPU acceleration, video codec acceleration, neural engine, CPU deep idle, sleep mode, camera, and the touchbar. Rest assured, however, that common features (such as WiFi, USB, NVMe, and the keyboard) function as expected. As well, some apps (such as Chromium and emacs) do not yet function properly.

For those looking to kick the tires of Asahi Linux, you will not have to first jailbreak your device, as the installer works out of the box, nor will the distribution affect the security level of your macOS install. You can install Asahi Linux by upgrading to the latest version, opening the terminal application, and issuing the command curl https://alx.sh | sh. You should also make sure to read official release notes for the alpha version of Asahi Linux (https://asahilinux.org/2022/03/asahi-linux-alpha-release/).

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