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Open Source Security Study: Fortify Got it Wrong

Open Source

Several bloggers have already reported on the Open Source Security Study released by Fortify’s Security Research Group (and Larry Suto), but we are yet to see anyone take an in-depht look at the study itself. This is our attempt to take a closer look at the study titled “How Are Open Source Development Communities Embracing Security Best Practices?”. The study which was released as an 11-page report, is free to download from the company’s website.

We’ll analyze some of the statements and conclusions made in the report, and also look at a couple of the “Open Source Development Communities” that the study surveyed.

What led Fortify to embark on this study? According to Fortify, the study was inspired by:

  • An April 2008 survey by CIO.com showed that more than half of the respondents (53 percent) are using open source applications in their organization today, and an additional 10 percent plan to do so in the next year. For nearly half (44 percent), open source applications are considered equal to closed-source solutions during the acquisition process.
  • The European Commission’s Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, recently stated that open standards, and open source, are preferable to traditional closed source software

So, favorable comments from two influential people about Open Source solutions inspired Fortify to undertake this study of 11 open source communities which were chosen because:

they are implemented in Java (the most common programming language for enterprise development, represent a wide range of application functionality, and are used extensively to build and deploy enterprise applications.

And the chosen (open source) applications are:

Read the rest of the article here.

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