The Debian OpenSSL disaster

Conclusion

Unfortunately, it is much cheaper in the short term simply to treat the most damaging symptoms of bad software engineering than it is to address the underlying problems and causes. However, in the long run, this leads to huge amounts of time spent by end users applying patches and updates and developers needing to address the same problems repeatedly.

The good news is that many of the solutions to these problems are not that expensive, and most require little if any technology to implement.

Simply commenting code, documenting communications channels, and asking questions clearly – with as much context as possible – will go a long way. Also, it's important to remember that open source isn't just about access to source code, but access to the very culture that writes the source code, which means everyone has the chance to help make it that much better.

The Author

Kurt Seifried is an Information Security Consultant specializing in Linux and networks since 1996. He is married and has four cats but no fish (because the cats are more hungry than afraid of water). He often wonders how it is that technology works on a large scale but often fails on a small scale.

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