On July 12, the PuTTY development team, headed by Simon Tatham, released version (beta) 0.61 of their very popular telnet/SSH client software. This is the first release update since 2007, which I feel is a tribute to the great job the PuTTY development team does. This release adds new features, enhances support for Windows 7 and of course fixes several outstanding bugs.
I’ve been using this new software release for a week now on a laptop running Windows 7. Here are my first impressions from using this release update. I’ve used prior versions of PuTTY for years, so I’m fairly familiar with the product. I chose to download the installer for Windows since it provides all the software I use in one easy package. I downloaded the putty-0.61-installer.exe program file, verified its checksum and then launched the program. The installation program does the usual operations and installed the PuTTY software suite without any fuss. This new release had no problems using the session profiles I’d used with the previous release of PuTTY, release version (beta) 0.60. Wonderful!
So far I’ve noticed two significant differences with this release during my typical use of the product. The first thing I noticed was that this release really improves the way it supports Windows 7. Actually this is the first PuTTY release update since the launch of Windows 7, so the previous release was only using Windows XP features. PuTTY now supports Aero resizing and jump lists when running on Windows 7. It also fixed the one problem I had noticed when using the previous version on Windows 7. When the communications session closes unexpectedly, the PuTTY software becomes unresponsive. I would need to close it with the close button on the Windows taskbar preview screen or the end task button on the Windows task manager. This new release completely resolves by this issue.
The other issue I’ve noticed is that when the new PuTTY software connects to some of the servers I use, it displays the error message “Access denied” even before giving me the opportunity to enter my password. Yes, I access several servers using password authentication rather than public key authentication. I did not encounter this problem with devio.us or the other OpenBSD servers I use. So far I have only noticed this problem with CentOS 5.6 servers. I enabled session logging and reviewed the differences. The big concern which I saw is that the OpenSSH software on CentOS identifies itself as release 4.3. That makes it over five years old with several known vulnerabilities! It seems to be time to add a new project to the list: Either update the OpenSSH version or update to the recent release of CentOS 6.0. Which project would you choose?