Open-source software is available for any user to build on, add to, or use in any way they like. Believe it or not, Android is open-source software that allows manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and OnePlus to make Android devices. The areas not open for everyone to use freely are Google’s Play Store and Google Services. Google requires manufacturers to sign an agreement to access those services.
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Other open-source software includes Linux, InkScape, and GIMP. There are many other examples, but I think you get the idea. The open-source community generally policies and maintains its repositories and software builds. But now, Google is seeking to cooperate with the United States government to better “secure” the open-software space.
The company is focusing on software that is critical to internet security. “Kent Walker, president of global affairs and chief legal officer at Google and Alphabet, said the country needs a public-private partnership that will work to fund and staff the essential open-source projects properly.”
“For too long, the software community has taken comfort in the assumption that open source software is generally secure due to its transparency and the assumption that ‘many eyes’ were watching to detect and resolve problems,” he said. “But in fact, while some projects do have many eyes on them, others have few or none at all.”
According to Walker, the partnership would look at the influence and importance of a project to determine how critical it is to the wider ecosystem. Looking to the future, he says the industry needs new ways to identify software that may, down the line, pose a systemic risk to internet security.Engadget
Google is insistent that a public/private relationship is needed for this, but the open-source community is probably thinking differently about this news. We shall see what becomes of this and if Google and the government proceed. You can read more about this on Google’s blog.
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Last Updated on January 13, 2022.