My latest podcast topic contains thoughts on open source. This announcement from The Linux Foundation merges open source with the latest concerns about cybersecurity with several product launches regarding the Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). The industry continues to take small steps toward security. When a community gathers to work on a solution, it’s a big help.

Home to the industry’s most supported open standard for exchanging information about what is in software – SPDX – the Linux Foundation brings its complete resources to bear to support private and public sector supply chain security 

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced new industry research, a new training course, and new software tools to accelerate the adoption of Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs). 

President Biden’s recent Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity referenced the importance of SBOMs in protecting and securing the software supply chain.

The de-facto industry standard, and most widely used approach today, is called Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX). SPDX evolved organically over the last ten years to suit the software industry, covering issues like license compliance, security, and more. The community consists of hundreds of people from hundreds of companies, and the standard itself is the most robust, mature, and adopted SBOM in the market today. 

“As the architects of today’s digital infrastructure, the open-source community is in a position to advance the understanding and adoption of SBOMs across the public and private sectors,” said Mike Dolan, Senior Vice President and General Manager Linux Foundation Projects. “The rise in cybersecurity threats is driving a necessity that the open-source community anticipated many years ago to standardize on how we share what is in our software. The time has never been more pressing to surface new data and offer additional resources that help increase understanding about how to generate and adopt SBOMs.” 

An SBOM is an account of the components contained in a piece of software. It can be used to ensure developers understand what software is being shared throughout the supply chain and in their projects or products and supports the systematic review of each component’s licenses to clarify what obligations apply to the distribution of the supplied software.

SBOM Readiness Survey

Linux Foundation Research is conducting the SBOM Readiness Survey. It will examine obstacles to adoption for SBOMs and future actions required to overcome them related to the security of software supply chains. The recent US Executive Order on Cybersecurity emphasizes SBOMs, and this survey will help identify industry gaps in SBOM application. Survey questions address tooling, security measures, and industries leading in producing and consuming SBOMs, among other topics. For more information about the survey and to participate, please visit {Hilary blog}. 

New Course: Generating a Software Bill of Materials

The Linux Foundation is also announcing a free, online training course, Generating a Software Bill of Materials (LFC192). This course provides foundational knowledge about the options and the tools available for generating SBOMs and how to use them to improve the ability to respond to cybersecurity needs. It is designed for directors, product managers, open-source program office staff, security professionals, and developers in organizations building software. Participants will walk away with the ability to identify the minimum elements for an SBOM, how they can be assembled, and an understanding of some of the open-source tooling available to support the generation and consumption of an SBOM.

New Tools: SBOM Generator

Also announced today is the availability of the SPDX SBOM generator, which uses a command-line interface (CLI) to generate SBOM information, including components, licenses, copyrights, and security references of your software using SPDX v2.2 specification and aligning with the current known minimum elements from NTIA. Currently, the CLI supports GoMod (go), Cargo (Rust), Composer (PHP), DotNet (.NET), Maven (Java), NPM (Node.js), Yarn (Node.js), PIP (Python), Pipenv (Python), and Gems (Ruby). It is easily embeddable in automated processes. It is easy to embed in automated processes such as continuous integration (CI) pipelines and is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open-source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure, including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users, and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration.

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