Security

Wacky Linux Part 15: Update-proof defaults


In our last episode,

I was complaining about A) an open-only-for-a-few-hours security hole

in Ubuntu and B) the fact that the Breezy auto-updater kept

reinstituting my hated VGA driver problem after every few updates--like, say, when I download an emergency patch to close a security hole.


Surprisingly, I found the solution all on my own. Not surprisingly, the

solution would have bitten any half-literate person in the keister if

they had but eyes to see it. (Read: Trivia Geek = Idiot.) As I've described before, it's time to edit the menu.lst file.

  1. In your GNOME Ubuntu desktop, go to the Applications menu, navigate to the Accessories folder, and select Terminal.
  2. At teh command prompt, enter cd /boot/grub
  3. Enter sudo pico menu.lst
  4. At the Password challenge, enter your personal user password
  5. Scroll down (you'll have to use the arrow keys) until you see a line that reads: ## ## Start Default Options ##

At this point in the file, there are several lines commented out with #

marks. Previously, I had skipped over this part of the file, assumming

these were inactive options. I was only half right. The parameters

specified in this part of the menu.lst file are the defaults that

various update and restore processes--including the Breezy updater--use

as a reference. In some circumstances, the Breezy updater will restore

your boot parameters to these defaults. In my case, the vga=771 parameter that screws up my GUI video driver was still specified in this part of menu.lst.


Under no circumstances should you uncomment these #'d-out options. Lines

that begin with two pound marks (##) explain what defaults are being

specified. Lines that begin with a single pound mark (#) are actual

default specifications.  The latter are the ones that you should

modify. In my case, removing the vga boot parameter involved these

remaining steps...

  1. Scroll down to the line that reads # kopt=root=/dev/hda1 vga=771 ro
  2. Delete the vga=771 parameter
  3. Enter [CTRL][O] to write out the file
  4. When asked to confim the menu.lst file name to write out, hit [ENTER]
  5. Enter [CTRL][X] to exit the pico editor
  6. Once you've returned to the command prompt, close the terminal window

From here on out, any options you've specified in the lower portion of the menu.lst file won't be overwritten by the Breezy updater. Unless I'm wrong. In which case, somebody please tell me.


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Keep up with the Trivia Geek's ongoing Wacky Linux Adventures with the wackylinux tag. If it doesn't say wackylinux, it's not really a wacky Linux adventure.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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