Open Source makes software more secure

After many discussions with people hesitant in adopting FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software), I noted there are doubts they can’t really explain which make them mistrustful of open source software. One of these issues is that open source seems to be a security risk. To these people I say, “It’s quite the contrary. Open source software has the potential to be safer.”

If you do think that open source is risky, here are some arguments that could change your mind.
 

Security and quality, top reasons for using open source

According to research conducted by  BlackDuck and North Bridge Venture Partners in 2014, security and quality are the top reasons companies use open source. Participants surveyed said that they use open source because it provides better security than proprietary software.

 

quality and open source

A full 80 percent of companies surveyed reported choosing open source over proprietary alternatives because of quality.

 

Source code availability boosts early bug fixes

According to Gartner, 85% of commercial products use open source libraries. While open source projects contain defects at rates similar to any other software, most communities are quick to fix defects, even if users are slow to update….
 
To briefly explain, open source (OS) is software whose source code is open to anyone who wants to study or improve it. It often begins with a group of people or a company who share the first version of a program for users to use and test over the web. As word spreads, more people start taking part in the project, testing, reporting or even solving issues. Over time, the application continuously improves.
 
With OS, more eyes are assessing and examining the source code, so weaknesses can be identified faster and patched. The software becomes more secure through the phenomenon of a group of highly motivated people working together, sometimes spread throughout the world.
More importantly, the model of open source communities forces developers to use best coding practices: write clear and understandable code, promote open standards, etc. This in turn, facilitates security reviews.

Uri Rivner, a recognized industry expert on Cybercrime and advanced threats said, “We are all stronger as a result of reviewed code. Open Source actually helps security.”
But I would like to underline that security not only depends on whether source code is closed or open source. The more important things are its architecture and the delivery process and quality review.

 

You use open source everyday

Day after day, we use various applications without even wondering about their origins. Some apps have been propelled to our devices by individuals but others come from large companies that understand the power of open source.
 
I think the most telling example is Android. As you probably know, Android is the mobile operating system, based on the Linux kernel, developed by Google which had over 107 million users in 2016 only in the United States.

Android is open source software and I know of no one who considers it a risk to use their mobile phone because the software isn’t proprietary.
 
Many other open source programs are widely used in organizations: VLC, Linux, OpenOffice, Openstack, Mozilla Firefox… Many websites you are browsing are underpinned by open source CMS’s such as Drupal, WordPress or Joomla. You perhaps use them without knowing they are open source and you don’t hear that they are less secure than the alternatives.
 
To conclude, I would like to share a quote that represents to me, the future of the software world. 

software-eating-world-open-source-chew

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About the Author

How great is the challenge of creating economic value for a company with a libre software. I enjoy this! It encourages me to think business and communication in a disruptive way. I believe in the core value of FLOSS and agile spirit: open minded listening, transparency and co-creation. I'm Marketing Manager at Enalean.

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