Open source security is in good health


The overall quality, security and integrity of open source software is improving, according to new research.

So claims the findings of the 2009 Coverity Scan Open Source Report, which analysed more than 11 billion lines of open source code from 280 open source projects over the last three years.

The Coverity Scan initiative was launched in 2006 with funding from the US Department of Homeland Security, in an attempt to harden open source by finding and fixing code defects and security holes that could compromise software.

The report presented open source code quality and defect data collected from the Coverity Scan service, looking at popular open source packages like Firefox, Linux and PHP.

"High-integrity open source software is critical, especially given Gartner's estimate that at least 80 per cent of commercial software will contain open source code by 2012," said David Maxwell, open source strategist for Coverity, in a statement.

According to the report, the most common defect types among the participating open source projects were NULL pointer, resource leaks, and unintentional ignored expressions.