Category: Blog


Unaffected by the GHOST vulnerability

A software vulnerability in the Linux glibc library called GHOST has been discovered by Qualys, in some ways comparable to the highly critical Heartbleed. We have received a few emails from customers asking if the Halon software is affected, and the answer is no. The current release is based on FreeBSD 10, which has its own C library implementation.

We do of course encourage everyone to browse through your server inventory, updating all your affected Linux servers. Every time this happens, I’m reminded and surprised by the large number of Linux server’s that we’ve got running in the periphery.


Seamless migration to 64-bit

AMD announced what would become x86-64 in 1999, and the first CPU was shipped in 2003.

A few years later, we released the first version of our email gateway. At that time, many 1U servers and network appliances used the new “Pentium M” processor, thanks to its energy efficiency. It was 32-bit. That’s how our 10-year-long 32-bit legacy began…

A few months ago, we got tired of having to build, test and release two different binary images of each release; one 32-bit (called i386) and another 64-bit (called amd64). To see what kind of systems were out there, we added the following code to the product, to detect 64-bit CPUs (even though the CPU was running 32-bit software) and displayed a warning on the first page of the web admin, if a 32-bit CPU was detected.

bool cpu_has_64bit_support() {
        uint32_t regs[4];
        do_cpuid(0x80000000, regs);
        if (regs[0] < 0x80000001)
                return false;
        do_cpuid(0x80000001, regs);
        if (regs[3] & 0x20000000)
                return true;
        return false;

Only a handful customers got back to us, saying that they say the warning, asking what was up. Some had 64-bit CPUs, but were running virtual machines on old hosts (for example VMware ESX3) which had a per-VM setting for enabling 64-bit. Other were still running old network appliances with Pentium M, and we encouraged them to go virtual instead (as most companies today have a virtual machine environment).

Satisfied about the results, we researched the different methods for migrating all users to 64-bit. First of all, we made sure that the 32-bit FreeBSD’s first-strage boot loader (that we use for updating in our dual-partition scheme) could load a 64-bit kernel/loader, which it could, fortunately. Then, we had to decide when to convert all the machine-dependent data (PostgreSQL database, RRD, etc). We finally decided to do the migration in “one step”; doing the data conversion during boot of the 64-bit release (only one 64-bit release will contain the migration code; 3.2-r10). By shipping that specific “migration” release with 32-bit compatibility libraries and a 32-bit version of PostgreSQL and other programs, we can dump the data to SQL, XML, etc and then to an import. Once migrated, the customer need to update once more, in order to get to the latest 64-bit release. We make sure that no systems are “bricked” by doing the cpu_has_64bit_support() check in the updated program before downloading the update.

A few weeks ago, we finally released the “32-to-64-bit migration release” (in the form of 3.2-r10) on a request basis, and it will released for everyone (with a CPU that detects as 64-bit) in a week or so.


Security router 3.4 based on OpenBSD 5.6

Although not as catchy as 3.3 on 5.5, we are proud to announce the latest release 3.4 (codename “angel”) of our firewall/router side project. It’s a maintenance release that brings our codebase in sync with OpenBSD’s latest advancements, which includes

  • Added hardware support; most importantly (for a firewall) network adapters
  • Much improved filter syntax in the load balancer “relayd
  • The Unbound caching DNS server

New users can grab the full installation image, and current users updates as usual. However, because of configuration syntax changes in OpenBSD, please take an extra look at the release notes and make sure that you backup/snapshot the system before updating.

We hope you’ll enjoy this new release, and please report any hardware that you’ve successfully installed it on, so that we can update our supported hardware page.


Today we’re at Exertis CapTech Expo in Gothenburg

Make sure to visit our booth. It’s the one with the real authentic grass and the cloud-ish walls… We’ve got some prices to be won and some offers to be seen. Mattias and Ola are there to meet and greet and assist you with any queries you might have.

The Expo is located in Eriksbergshallen and runs from noon until 7pm. To find out more about the event, please visit