As an open source operating system (OS), Linux, which has grown to roughly 20 million lines of source code, not surprisingly requires a significant and ongoing number of patches. As an open source platform, the majority of the work is performed by the Linux community, encompassing thousands of programmers from around the world. While this level of collaboration reaps amazing benefits, it also results in even more patching issues than usual.
Linux traces its roots back to 1964 and the development of Multics by M.I.T., GE, and Bell Labs (AT&T). When Bell labs pulled out in 1969, two employees, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, created Unix. Through the coming years, Unix spawned Berkeley Software Distribution, the GNU Project, and MINIX. Each had its own limitations and restrictions which led Linus Torvalds to create Linux in 1991, sending his now famous message to the minix newsgroup on Usenet.
In the 25+ years since, Linux has evolved dramatically and many well known companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, and IBM all invest in and profit from Linux by validating and selling Linux on their own servers. Other companies, including RedHat, Ubuntu, and SUSE manage their own enterprise distributions. It is easy to see how quickly Linux patching can become complicated depending on who you are using to support your Linux servers. Everyone know how complicated Windows patching is and the headaches created by WSUS, and that is a single company. Linux, with its plethora of options presents patching complications all its own.
While Microsoft has has the edge in patching support, patching Linux has historically had very few third party options to manage patches. You could handle them manually (not recommended) by visiting your vendor (RedHat, SUSE, etc…) site, downloading the package, run the package manager and related scripts and commands, and hope you don’t run into additional requirements. If you don’t have unlimited time and resources, another option is to use the built in updating processes, but they are typically inefficient and become more difficult when you have other dependencies or scheduling requirements.
Looking at 3rd party options, even as recently as a couple years ago, centralizing Linux patch management meant you had to use configuration management systems like Puppet or Chef. While these solutions technically work, they tend to be overly complex solutions for patching. Most SysAdmins don’t have the programming experience, let alone the time required to create the programs necessary to efficiently patch a scalable Linux network.
Finally, there is a simple, straightforward solution for Linux patching that not only handles Linux, but also works with Windows and Mac. Automox’s cloud based SaaS has made Linux patching manageable whether you have one Linux server or one thousand. Our revolutionary platform automatically identifies devices that have fallen out of patch compliance and applies required patches – with no effort on your part. Broad Linux support along with a constant cycle of policy-based evaluation and remediation sets Automox apart. By simply adding the Automox OS Agent to your Linux endpoints you will instantly generate a full inventory view along with a complete list of deployed software.
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