Open Source and Security

I read an interesting article the other day when I was browsing around the homepage of Fetchmail, and came across the essays section of the site.

It’s about open-source software and security, using the computer game Quake as an example. It’s a very interesting read, if you’re into that kind of thing. Here’s a quote:

The Quake model is made particularly relevant by its open-source connection. Open source advocates (including me) have been making a strong argument over the last two years that open-source software such as Linux and Apache is fundamentally more secure than its closed-source competitors. Cryptographers have long understood that no encryption system can really be considered well-tested until it has been energetically and repeatedly attacked by experts who have full knowledge of the algorithms it uses. Open-source advocates argue that there is nothing special about cryptography but its high stakes — that, in general, open peer review is the only road to systems which are not merely accidentally secure by obscurity, but robustly secure by design.

Read the article…


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