January 04, 2012, 2:10 PM — The damage from the September 2011 cracking of several Linux Foundation web sites seems to have been repaired, though one site won't be coming back: the Linux Developer Network.
[Author's note: This story has been updated to include definitive statements from the Linux Foundation on the disposition of the Linux Developer Network, which came in after this story was initially posted.]
To date, all of the site domains owned by the Linux Foundation that were affected by the attack have been restored: LinuxFoundation.org was up soon after the Foundation took all affected sites down, followed by the popular Linux.com site. All, that is, save the Linux Developer Network.
According to Jennifer Cloer, Director of Communications & Community with the Linux Foundation, the Linux Developer Network will not be restored.
"The LDN website's primary content is available on Linux.com and LF.org," Cloer told me this afternoon, "Because much of that content was already being duplicated across those web properties, we took the time during the security breach to update and consolidate it, which also helps us to better focus our limited resources in a way that best serves the Linux community."
[Disclosure: I was the Community Manager for the Linux Foundation in 2008-2009, and managed the content for many of these sites, including the Linux Developer Network.]
The breach, discovered on September 8, affected Linux.com, LinuxFoundation.org, and all attendant subdomains of those web properties, according to an e-mail sent out by the Foundation on September 11.
The Linux Foundation's e-mail also connected the attack to another prominent breach that had occurred the month before: "We believe this breach was connected to the intrusion on kernel.org."
The prevailing theory about the kernel.org intrusion is that it was perpetrated by crackers who really had no idea what they had stumbled upon and therefore were unable to truly capitalize on breaking into kernel.org on August 12.
As of today, many of the sites affected by the breach are now back online. Linux.com, which serves as a news, information, and community site for those interested in the Linux operating system, was back online by Oct. 6. LinuxFoundation.org was online prior to that.
LinuxFoundation.org also serves as a host for several subdomains, such as the Linux Developer Network, the Linux Foundation video site, and the Foundation's Reference Specifications site. A check on the sites on December 22 revealed that the Video site (formerly at video.linuxfoundation.org) was up and integrated into the Linux.com domain. A check on the sites today discovered that the Reference Specifications site has also been restored to its former address.
A visit to ldn.linuxfoundation.org as of this afternoon revealed the "This site is down for maintenance." message that formerly graced the other sites, and prompted a follow-up inquiry to the Foundation.
The return of the Video and RefSpec sites are important achievements for the Linux community, since they represent forums key to different communities. The Video site is a powerful potential tool for delivering accessible content to Linux users of all abilities. The RefSpec site is a critical component for Linux application and system development.
Now--fully acknowledging I am very biased here--I would also argue that LDN can also served a key function in the Linux community, providing a broad range of reference and informational material for Linux developers that could be used to attract more developers to the Linux ecosystem.
Of course, the recent successes of Linux in the cloud and server arenas may mitigate that need. After all, the doesn't seem to be a shortage of Linux developers and engineers thus far, and demand is definitely high.
Still, I am a big believer in making communities as easy to enter as possible, and (again, showing a personal bias) I believe increased documentation is a good way to go. Documentation has long been the bugaboo of any development community--not just Linux and open source--so it was nice to see the LDN in place as a way to improve the situation for Linux.
The content for LDN has not been lost, as Cloer indicated--it is now held in the archives of the other Linux Foundation sites. Those sites will now shoulder the responsibility of providing reference and innovative knowledge to the growing Linux developer community.
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