Open Source projects can be a major asset, or they can be a curse. It's all about how you approach it. To be successful in using open source, there are several things you need to take into account, from licenses to updates. And if you ignore one of these, it can cause problems. Here are some things to consider:
What is the license?
There are a number of licensing options for an open source project and components can range from free to everywhere, to very restrictive. It is important to have someone who is familiar with license types and who can set a number of guidelines for what is good and for which an assessment is needed. For example, are you okay in public with publication changes or new code because you have used an open source component? https://opensource.org/licenses is a good source for viewing commonly used license types.
Can hackers not read the code and find vulnerabilities?
Absolutely, but you can do the same. Every Open Source component that you decide to integrate into your products must be thoroughly checked for security issues. There are tools that can be used to scan the code or you can use employee pre-study teams if you do not have the expertise.
Are open source projects safe?
This all depends on the project. The first step I take here is to search the internet for known weaknesses in the project. Then I search the code check-ins and comments for the mention of security, vulnerability, vulnerability, etc. Even if they are empty, I have still done a full audit of the code for all undocumented matters. Checking other projects that developers are working on is also a good idea. If the other code is full, no problems with this code may have been reported.
Is an open source full of bugs not?
Maybe, but won't you test it? You must treat open source like any other code that you integrate, whether it's from your engineers or contractors. Prepare a test plan, validate that the code works as expected and check for error handling. Does the code correctly register everything you would need to solve it?
Will the developers offer me support for the component?
This is a big "well, that depends." Many but not all active projects have great forums or chat channels and use GIT to follow questions and problems. These can be a great resource. There are even some with support packages that you can purchase to give you faster response times. This is all good, but make sure you have engineers who can read and understand the code. Do not integrate a PERL component if none of your teams work normally with PERL.
Do I have to use the latest version of the open source?
No, but you must check a new release for relevant security or defect solutions. It is a good idea to also sign up for code change and bug report notifications. If you know there is a problem before a fix is available, you can better protect your products and customers. Your technicians may even be able to solve the problem without having to use the latest version of the open source. Keep in mind that not all projects update version numbers when changes are made, so keeping track of changes and builds keeps you informed.
Can I use a project that is being abandoned?
Yes, but it can have some risks, depending on the function of the code. Some stop projects are not abandoned, but are only mature and do not require updates. For example, a code that validates a phone number does not have to evolve until we add new area codes or change the number of digits in the number. If the code needs to evolve and uses encryption, it must be updated to use the latest protected encryptions, and the unsafe codes must be removed.
Are there best practices when looking at an Open Source project?
Yes, everyone has their own list. Here are some of the questions I ask when evaluating an open source project:
This seems like a lot of work. Is it really worth it?
You must answer this question for yourself. The use of open source can save time and money, but it is not free. If your organization is structured to keep track of Open Source projects or if it is simply not in your culture, you should consider other options.