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Business - Written by on Thursday, June 19, 2008 17:40 - 0 Comments

nGen Collaboration in Action

Within hours of the release of the Firefox 3.0 web browser, a vulnerability was found in the code that puts all PC users of Firefox at severe risk. The press release from TippingPoint’s DVLabs is sparse in detail for security reasons, but it does explain that the vulnerability could enable “an attacker to execute arbitrary code.”The good news is that an unnamed researcher did find the problem and sell it to TippingPoint’s Zero Day Initiative. TippingPoint’s Zero Day Initiative is currently working on a patch to correct the problem, which it will then sell to Mozilla. The Zero Day Initiative is an open call for researchers to find potentially devastating program vulnerabilities. TippingPoint will then pay the researchers for their discovery and develop a solution to the problem.

This situation is open source collaboration at its finest. Mozilla made the source to Firefox open source. This allows them to harness the researching power of thousands without employing any of them. In addition they don’t even need to employ full time programmers to fix the problem. TippingPoint programmers find a solution to the problem and sell Firefox only what they need. The researchers are also happy because they are compensated for any discoveries that they find. Every one is a winner.

Many people believe that it is impossible to make a profit using open source, but this is clear evidence that the belief isn’t true. TippingPoint and Mozilla are utilizing open source to achieve greater profitability than would be possible using traditional business methods. In addition, they are able to create a safer, higher quality product. The benefits of open source are undeniable, and you can expect more companies to utilize this power in the near future.



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