I have two Linux Foundation open source releases today. We connected through the EdgeX Foundry IoT platform. Then we discovered we had many common interests. One of the releases touches on a fundamental element of commerce and collaboration—trust. The Linux Foundation is an open source project. Open source is a powerful software development model. But, it takes many dedicated and talented people to accomplish the task. Why do people work on open source? LF conducted a survey to get an idea.

The Janssen Project Takes on World’s Most Demanding Digital Trust Challenges at Linux Foundation

New Janssen Project seeks to build the world’s fastest and most comprehensive cloud native identity and access management software platform

The Linux Foundation announced the Janssen Project, a cloud native identity and access management software platform that prioritizes security and performance for our digital society. Janssen is based on the Gluu Server and benefits from a rich set of signing and encryption functionalities. Engineers from IDEMIA, F5, BioID, Couchbase, and Gluu will make up the Technical Steering Committee.

Online trust is a fundamental challenge to our digital society. The Internet has connected us. But at the same time, it has undermined trust. Digital identity starts with a connection between a person and a digital device. Identity software conveys the integrity of that connection from the user’s device to a complex web of backend services. Solving the challenge of digital identity is foundational to achieving trustworthy online security.

While other identity and access management platforms exist, the Janssen Project seeks to tackle the most challenging security and performance requirements. Based on the latest code that powers the Gluu Server–which has passed more OpenID self-certification tests then any other platform–Janssen starts with a rich set of signing and encryption functionality that can be used for high assurance transactions. Having shown throughput of more than one billion authentications per day, the software can also handle the most demanding requirements for concurrency thanks to Kubernetes auto-scaling and advances in persistence.

“Trust and security are not competitive advantages–no one wins in an insecure society with low trust,” said Mike Schwartz, Chair of the Janssen Project Technical Steering Committee. “In the world of software, nothing builds trust like the open source development methodology. For organizations who cannot outsource trust, the Janssen Project strives to bring transparency, best practices and collective governance to the long term maintenance of this important effort. The Linux Foundation provides the neutral and proven forum for organizations to collaborate on this work.”

The Gluu engineering teams chose the Linux Foundation to host this community because of the Foundation’s priority of transparency in the development process and its formal framework for governance to facilitate collaboration among commercial partners. 

New digital identity challenges arise constantly, and new standards are developed to address them.  Open source ecosystems are an engine for innovation to filter and adapt to changing requirements. The Janssen Project Technical Steering Committee (“TSC”) will help govern priorities according to the charter.  The initial TSC includes: 

  • Michael Schwartz, TSC Chair, CEO Gluu
  • Rajesh Bavanantham, Domain Architect at F5 Networks/NGiNX
  • Rod Boothby, Head of Digital Trust at Santander
  • Will Cayo, Director of Software Engineering at IDEMIA Digital Labs
  • Ian McCloy, Principal Product Manager at Couchbase
  • Alexander Werner, Software Engineer at BioID

New Open Source Contributor Report from Linux Foundation and Harvard Identifies Motivations and Opportunities for Improving Software Security

New survey reveals why contributors work on open source projects and how much time they spend on security

The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) announced release of a new report, “Report on the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey,” which details the findings of a contributor survey administered by the organizations and focused on how contributors engage with open source software. The research is part of an ongoing effort to study and identify ways to improve the security and sustainability of open source software. 

The FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) contributor survey and report follow the Census II analysis released earlier this year. This combined pair of works represents important steps towards understanding and addressing structural and security complexities in the modern-day supply chain where open source is pervasive but not always understood. Census II identified the most commonly used free and open source software (FOSS) components in production applications, while the FOSS Contributor Survey and report shares findings directly from nearly 1,200 respondents working on them and other FOSS software. 

Key findings from the FOSS Contributor Survey include:

  • The top three motivations for contributors are non-monetary. While the overwhelming majority of respondents (74.87 percent) are already employed full-time and more than half (51.65 percent) are specifically paid to develop FOSS, motivations to contribute focused on adding a needed feature or fix, enjoyment of learning and fulfilling a need for creative or enjoyable work. 
  • There is a clear need to dedicate more effort to the security of FOSS, but the burden should not fall solely on contributors. Respondents report spending, on average, just 2.27 percent of their total contribution time on security and express little desire to increase that time. The report authors suggest alternative methods to incentivizing security-related efforts. 
  • As more contributors are paid by their employer to contribute, stakeholders need to balance corporate and project interests. The survey revealed that nearly half (48.7 percent) of respondents are paid by their employer to contribute to FOSS, suggesting strong support for the stability and sustainability of open source projects but drawing into question what happens if corporate interest in a project diminishes or ceases.
  • Companies should continue the  positive trend of corporate support for employees’ contribution to FOSS. More than 45.45 percent of respondents stated they are free to contribute to FOSS without asking permission, compared to 35.84 percent ten years ago. However, 17.48 percent of respondents say their companies have unclear policies on whether they can contribute and 5.59 percent were unaware of what  policies – if any – their employer had. 

The report authors are Frank Nagle, Harvard Business School; David A. Wheeler, the Linux Foundation; Hila Lifshitz-Assaf, New York University; and Haylee Ham and Jennifer L. Hoffman, Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard. 

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