Open source: Big benefits, big flaws

While open source is now a dominant force in IT, experts warn that the things that make it attractive – it is free, open, customizable and overseen by a community of users – can also make it risky. In short, it may not be for everyone

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Given the dominance of open source in the IT marketplace, any significant debate over its value might be considered moot.

As Eric Cowperthwaite, vice president, advanced security and strategy at Core Security, told CSO recently, “Open-source code has conquered the world.”

Indeed, its advantages are multiple, compelling and well known. Among the most compelling are that it is free, it is open to everybody, users can customize it to fit their needs and there is a community of thousands – perhaps millions – of eyes on the code to spot bugs or flaws so they can be fixed quickly, before they are exploited by cybercriminals.

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