Rubbing my eyes - open source is allegedly the cause for malware?

Sometimes I wonder. Right now I am in Ottawa at the Ottawa Linux Symposium where more than 800 Linux and open source developers are coming together to discuss their latest ideas and to celebrate the success of open source (and let's just say, they know how to celebrate). Earlier this week I was here at the Linux Kernel Summit where about 70 of the top kernel developers get together once a year to address some of the more difficult (or more hotly debated) topics of the kernel community.

Both events are showcases for the strength of innovation in open source and for the amazing software that is being created.

And while here I see McAfee's Dave Marcus is quoted somehow drawing a connection between open source and malware authors. Some of the headlines are pretty mind boggling, implying that open source is to blame for the increase in root-kit and malware-bot development. That's tough talk. Of course, reading a bit more you quickly find that the journalists and bloggers are a bit loose in their interpretation of Dave's words. What he apparently said is that the bad guys are using open source like methodology to develop their software. One might add that researchers have used "open source like methodology" for hundreds of years. Publishing papers about their results, and basing their research on previously released research from others.

While I don't think it is fair to say that "Development of Penicillin was caused by the open source movement", neither is it really honest to try to draw connections between open source developers and malware authors. I much more would see all of these comparisons as yet another example for why open source is a well established way to innovate (for the good or the bad) - and I am puzzled why people are upset about it.

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