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The Software Museum inside the Software Museum //at 13:40 //by abe

from the made-my-day dept.

Most Linuxers know that Debian and most of its users prefer stable software over up-to-date software. So do I, but sometimes this goes a little bit too far, e.g. when I find software which has been compiled years before the first line of Linux kernel code has been written:

C:\>ls +version
GNU ls, Version (compiled Sep 19 1990 12:43:10 for MS-DOS)

C:\>ls -alF gnu\
total 521
drwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou     4096 Mar 26 23:16 ./
drwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou     4096 Mar 26 23:17 ../
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    17868 Sep 19  1990 cat.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    20028 Sep 19  1990 cmp.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    26780 Sep 19  1990 cp.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    17948 Sep 19  1990 cut.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    27138 Sep 24  1990 grep.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    16572 Sep 19  1990 head.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    27756 Sep 19  1990 ls.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    23100 Sep 19  1990 mv.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    19820 Sep 23  1990 rm.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    37644 Sep 19  1990 tac.exe*
-rwxrwxrwx   1 anonymou anonymou    20188 Sep 19  1990 tail.exe*


And yes, this looks like DOS. This is FreeDOS (1:0.0.b9r5a-3) inside of dosemu, packaged for Debian 4.0 Etch and installed from the original Debian archives.

BTW, the date looks quite authentic: According to the ChangeLog, Version 1.4 of the GNU Fileutils have been released on the 9th of September 1990. The oldest version of the GNU Fileutils (nowadays coreutils) available on the GNU FTP server is version 3.13 from July 1996, though.

I really wonder how many buffer overflows this version has. And I wonder if there’s really a scenario in which this combination (Debian → dosemu → FreeDOS → GNU fileutils) could be exploited.

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


Debian GNU/Linux is my favourite Linux distribution, being stable, flexible, consistent and having a great community. Although I'm not the biggest bug report writer, I try to contribute by staffing the Debian booth at events, carrying the necessary hardware there or even organising the whole booth.

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