Linux Foundation wants open source projects to show you their steenking badges

New effort gives the nod to security-conscious projects

LinuxCon 2015 The Linux Foundation says it plans to introduce a new, voluntary badge program designed to help IT admins identify open source projects that have made security a priority.

The new effort is part of the Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), which aims to fund and support open source projects that are critical to the functioning of the internet but lack the resources to do proper security auditing and patching.

"Despite its prevalence, trying to quickly determine the best maintained and most secure open source to use is a complex problem for both seasoned CIOs and nimble developers," the Foundation explained in a statement. "The self-assessment, and the badges that will follow, are designed to be a simple, fairly basic way for projects to showcase their commitment to security and quality."

The idea is that the CII will offer both a set of criteria and an automated assessment tool to help open source project maintainers evaluate whether their projects stick to security best practices – and if they do, to let consumers of the projects know it.

Examples of criteria being considered include whether the project is under an explicit open source license; whether it uses a public, version-controlled source code repository (such as GitHub); whether it uses automated regression tests; and whether it uses static analysis tools to spot vulnerabilities before attackers do.

"Projects that follow best practices can still have vulnerabilities, other bugs, and other kinds of problems, but they should be a better position to prevent, detect and fix them," the Linux Foundation said.

Everything is still up in the air for now. The Linux Foundation has asked for community feedback on its sample criteria before the formal badge program is launched.

It's chosen an unusual forum for the discussion, though. The first draft of the program's criteria has been published as a document on its official GitHub repository, and the Linux Foundation has requested that comments be submitted in the form of GitHub pull requests. ®

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