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If you're looking for a secure server-oriented Linux OS, you may want to consider the first non-beta release of Annvix, called Annvix 1.0-RELEASE. This OS is based on the Mandrakelinux 9.2 distribution, but it's updated, slimmed down, and all of the GUI-related items are removed.
Annvix takes a new approach to the traditional SysVinit managed services, which other Linux distributions use, because it uses the runit package to monitor services. This allows for a greater degree of high availability than in other Linux systems. If a service dies for any reason, the supervising process will restart that service almost immediately. For example, if a daemon (such as sshd) were to crash, it would restart and be available within five seconds.
Another nice feature of Annvix is that the code, which is compiled with the SSP stack protection code for gcc, provides enhanced stack protection to all binaries. In addition, all of the services come with secure defaults, the 2.4 kernel is compiled with extra security enhancements, and the system is extremely light. In fact, you can complete a full installation within 10 minutes, but make note that the installer is reminiscent of Gentoo in that it's a 100% text-mode manual install.
Annvix is still slightly rough around the edges, but it truly is a unique light-weight distribution. It doesn't pretend to hold your hand or make assumptions about what you require. Everything Annvix does is what you tell it to do, which is something more distributions should aspire to. Annvix comes in both i586 and x86_64 versions, and the install ISOs are a quick 50MB compressed ISO download.
To download Annvix, or simply find out more information about this Linux distribution, visit the Annvix home page.
Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.