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In defence of open source

Jun 28, 2011, 06:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Norwood-Young)

"There are only two ways that this potential theft could have been detected before the website went live. The first would have been fairly technically complex. We could have set the site up in a controlled environment and examined all the information sent in and out of the system. It would have been time consuming in the extreme, have required a great deal of technical expertise and would not have been 100% guaranteed.

"The second way would be for someone to read the code, which is how we found the problem. For this to happen, we required open-source software â€" software where the code is clearly visible, and in this case editable. Not only could we detect the problem, we could fix it. The site still went live, without the security issues.

"These are two reasons that as an IT buyer I lean towards open-source software. If there’s a problem, I can identify it and fix it. That doesn’t mean that I audit every piece of software that I run. There aren’t enough hours in the day. But I’ll often dive in and have a quick look around before committing to certain software. Poor coding styles and obvious unnecessary outgoing links should ring alarm bells."

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