Michael Tremer

IPFire 2.21 is available for testing
by Michael Tremer, June 24

Finally, the next major version of IPFire is ready for testing. IPFire 2.2 rebases the distribution on the long-term supported Linux kernel 4.14 and many more improvements and bug fixes have found their way into the distribution.

Thanks for the people who contributed to this Core Update by submitting their patches and please help us to support everyone’s work with your donation!

Highlight: Linux 4.14

The distribution was rebased from our old long-term supported kernel to the new kernel 4.14.50.

Most importantly, this kernel improves the security of the system, increases performance and makes the core of IPFire more up to date and modern again. This update also enables mitigation against Meltdown and Spectre on some architectures. On Intel-based platforms, we update the microcode of the CPUs when the system boots up to avoid any performance penalties caused by the mitigation techniques.

Unfortunately, grsecurity is incompatible with any newer kernels and has been removed. This is connected to the decision of the grsecurity project to no longer open source their patches. Luckily the kernel developers have backported many features so that this kernel is still hardened and secure.

ARM systems won’t be able to install this update due to the kernel change which also requires changes on some bootloaders. For those users, we recommend to backup the system, reinstall and then restore the backup. The re-installed system will only come with a single ARM kernel instead of multiple for different platforms that we had before. It helps us to keep the distribution smaller and makes development efforts easier.

Misc.

Smaller images due to more efficient compression

We have tried to make the download of the distribution faster and make it use less space on our servers. As a first step, the flash images have been merged together and there is only one image that boots on systems with serial console and normal video output. Secondly, we now compress all images with the XZ algorithm so that they download faster and even decompress quicker, too.

New partition layout

This release also changes the partition layout of the distribution. We have dropped the /var partition which was used for log files and data that the system collected. This data is now located on a single partition together with the OS. The size of the /boot partition has been increased to 128MB in the default partition layout.

Add-ons

Updates Packages

Posted: June 24 • 3122 views