The Sourcefire purchase isn’t overly concerning, because Sourcefire has been the commercial arm of the open source Snort intrusion-detection tool since its creation, and creator Marty Roesch says open source Snort will continue on.
Nessus’ 2.x current GPL code will remain open source and has started a new development fork, but version 3.x with bug fixes and performance enhancements will be a commercial-only product.
We are rightly worried about any commercial company’s commitment to its open source software cousin. But I’m a capitalist living in a capitalist country, and I think making money legitimately is a fair goal, even when it possibly comes at the expense of my favorite free software.
I have, however, seen many people frustrated and angry when their beloved open source program begins to wither or die. I even saw a few people throw heated rants and curse words toward previous open source advocates that seem to have “gone to the dark side.” My wife has taught me to count my blessings and to be thankful for what I do have -- and what I did have. With that in mind, I would like to take a moment and thank some of the most important free resources I have used over the past five years.
So, thanks to Snort and Nessus for the good times. I hope we have many more years of free innovation ahead. Thanks to Linus Torvalds and the rest of the Linux team for the Linux kernel. Thanks to Richard Stallman, GNU, the GPL license, and all the other, myriad open source and free licenses. Thanks to all of the hundreds of thousands of coders who give us free software -- guaranteeing choice and competition.
I appreciate all the commercial companies that give us lots of free software tools. Thanks to the Sysinternals Web site for every single ultracool, free utility. I don’t know a Windows hacker who doesn’t thank Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell for Regmon, Filemon, and all the PsTools. Thanks for the excellent, excellent Autoruns: Not only can we see what’s automatically running on our Windows systems, but we can turn things off. Possibly the only more accurate autorun program finder is the free SilentRunners.vbs script by Andrew Aronoff. And who could forget HijackThis, which started the search for spyware and adware?