• Why Security Distributions Use Debian

    Debian may not talk a lot about security, but then fish rarely talk about water, either.

    What do distributions like Qube OS, Subgraph, Tails, and Whonix have in common? Besides an emphasis on security and privacy, all of them are Debian derivatives -- and, probably, this common origin is not accidental.

    At first, this trend seems curious. After all, other distributions ranging from Slackware and Gentoo to Arch Linux all emphasize security and privacy in their selection of tools. In particular, Fedora's SE Linux can be so restrictive that some users would rather disable it than learn how to configure it. By contrast, while Debian carries many standard security and privacy tools, it has seldom emphasized them.

    Similarly, Debian's main branch consists of only free and open source software, its contrib and non-free branches not being official parts of the distribution. With many security experts favoring the announcement of vulnerabilities and exploit code rather than relying on security through obscurity, the way that many pieces of proprietary software do, this transparency has obvious appeal.

    Yet although the advantage of free software to security and privacy is that the code can be examined for backdoors and malware, this advantage is hardly unique to Debian. To one or degree another, it is shared by all Linux distributions.

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