My 2 paisas

Is security really a concern in open-source software or proprietary software?

Posted on: February 18, 2010

I am writing this blog as a reply to the article by Glyn Moody

http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Is-Open-Source-Too-Open-for-its-Own-Good-932940.html

In the article, he mentions that as more and more people contribute to the project, it becomes difficult to check the authenticity of the patch and to understand the real motivations of the contributor . He predicts that it may happen in future that contributors who have commit access to important projects can commit patches such that they create back-doors for the benefits of any third-party. This seems to be a genuine fear for a person recently introduced to philosophy of FOSS. However one should understand that a open source software generally has a much larger user base than the contributor base, a good percentage of which are active bug reporters. The whole community relies on it to report any activity that the software is not supposed to do.

The more intriguing question that I would like to ask all the people who have this fear is: “How have you till now trusted the developers of proprietary software to have not created back-doors in their software?” I mean, I seriously fail to understand how government of all the countries have till now trusted the intentions of proprietary software companies to have not created backdoors in their softwares?

Atleast, in the open-source software, the source code is open and governments can always have a department which tests the software before using it in government organization. But can you do the same for proprietary software?

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