Photon Code

Photon is an RPM based Linux distribution similar to variants like CentOS and Fedora. With RPM based distributions granular updates as opposed to updating the whole OS image is possible.


The "Recipe" for creating an RPM package is a spec file. The Photon code base's SPECS folder hast the following directory structure:



To Check if a Package is Signed

Run the following commands to check if the package is signed:

#check if a package is signed
rpm -q linux --qf '%{NAME}-%{VERSION}-%{RELEASE} %{SIGPGP:pgpsig} %{SIGGPG:pgpsig}\n'
linux-4.19.79-2.ph3 RSA/SHA1, Thu 31 Oct 2019 10:05:05 AM UTC, Key ID c0b5e0ab66fd4949 (none)

rpm -qi linux | grep "Signature"
Signature   : RSA/SHA1, Thu 31 Oct 2019 10:05:05 AM UTC, Key ID c0b5e0ab66fd4949

#Last 8 chars of Key ID: 66fd4949
#See if it matches the version of any of the gpg keys installed.
rpm -qa | grep gpg-pubkey | xargs -n1 rpm -q --queryformat "%{NAME} %{VERSION} %{PACKAGER}\n"
gpg-pubkey 66fd4949 VMware, Inc. -- Linux Packaging Key --
gpg-pubkey 3e1ba8d5 Google Cloud Packages RPM Signing Key

To Check if Your Image Has Vulnerabilities

Use the security scanners to find security issues. Alternatively The tdnf updateinfo info command displays all the applicable security updates the host needs.

To Check if a CVE is Fixed

The Photon team fix the vulnerabilities and then publish the advisories to (

To Check if Security Updates are Available

Use the tdnf updateinfo info, tdnf update --security or tdnf update ---sec-severity <level> commands to check if security updates are available. For example:

#check if there are any security updates
root@photon-9a8c05dd97e9 [ ~ ]# tdnf updateinfo
70 Security notice(s)

#check if there are security updates for libssh2. note this is relative to what is installed in local
root@photon-9a8c05dd97e9 [ ~ ]# tdnf updateinfo list libssh2
patch:PHSA-2020-3.0-0047 Security libssh2-1.9.0-2.ph3.x86_64.rpm
patch:PHSA-2019-3.0-0025 Security libssh2-1.9.0-1.ph3.x86_64.rpm
patch:PHSA-2019-3.0-0009 Security libssh2-1.8.2-1.ph3.x86_64.rpm
patch:PHSA-2019-3.0-0008 Security libssh2-1.8.0-2.ph3.x86_64.rpm

#show details of all the libssh2 updates
root@photon-9a8c05dd97e9 [ ~ ]# tdnf updateinfo info libssh2
       Name : libssh2-1.9.0-2.ph3.x86_64.rpm
  Update ID : patch:PHSA-2020-3.0-0047
       Type : Security
    Updated : Wed Jan 15 10:48:25 2020
Needs Reboot: 0
Description : Security fixes for {'CVE-2019-17498'}
       Name : libssh2-1.9.0-1.ph3.x86_64.rpm
  Update ID : patch:PHSA-2019-3.0-0025
       Type : Security
    Updated : Sat Aug 17 16:14:35 2019
Needs Reboot: 0
Description : Security fixes for {'CVE-2019-13115'}
       Name : libssh2-1.8.2-1.ph3.x86_64.rpm
  Update ID : patch:PHSA-2019-3.0-0009
       Type : Security
    Updated : Sat Apr 13 03:34:22 2019
Needs Reboot: 0
Description : Security fixes for {'CVE-2019-3859', 'CVE-2019-3862', 'CVE-2019-3861', 'CVE-2019-3857', 'CVE-2019-3858', 'CVE-2019-3863', 'CVE-2019-3860', 'CVE-2019-3856'}
       Name : libssh2-1.8.0-2.ph3.x86_64.rpm
  Update ID : patch:PHSA-2019-3.0-0008
       Type : Security
    Updated : Fri Mar 29 16:04:18 2019
Needs Reboot: 0
Description : Security fixes for {'CVE-2019-3855'}

#install all security updates >= score 9.0 (CVSS_v3.0_Severity)
root@photon-9a8c05dd97e9 [ ~ ]# tdnf update --sec-severity 9.0
apache-tomcat                  noarch          8.5.50-1.ph3         photon-updates    9.00M 9440211
bash                           x86_64          4.4.18-2.ph3         photon-updates    3.16M 3315720
bzip2                          x86_64          1.0.8-1.ph3          photon-updates  124.99k 127990
bzip2-libs                     x86_64          1.0.8-1.ph3          photon-updates   74.31k 76096
file                           x86_64          5.34-2.ph3           photon-updates   43.02k 44056
file-libs                      x86_64          5.34-2.ph3           photon-updates    5.21M 5458536
git                            x86_64          2.23.1-2.ph3         photon-updates   24.34M 25519969
glib                           x86_64          2.58.0-4.ph3         photon-updates    3.11M 3265152
libseccomp                     x86_64          2.4.0-2.ph3          photon-updates  315.79k 323368
libssh2                        x86_64          1.9.0-2.ph3          photon-updates  238.41k 244136
linux-esx                      x86_64          4.19.97-2.ph3        photon-updates   12.68M 13299655

Total installed size:  58.28M 61114889

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