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Re: Call to participate: GNessUs security scanner
From: Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 01:34:06 -0400

On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 22:07:19 EDT, security curmudgeon said:

Nessus has been open source for a long time. Despite that, the majority of 
contributions have come from a very small amount of people. Even with 
plugins, some 95% (i think) were written by the Nessus team, not outside 
contributors.

At least for some people (including myself), software verifiability and
transparency is important.  I've never contributed code to the Nessus tree, but
the availability of the source so we can tell what it's *really* doing has been
important more than once.  And there's philosophical appeal in  the idea of a
product being open-source, and software company business models organized
around consulting/support contracts (see Sendmail Inc or Red Hat for example).

Having said that, I don't particularly insist that it need be a *GPL* license.
Most of the OSI "Open Source" licenses would be acceptable (and in fact, I've
dealt successfully with more than one project where the source was "available
but closed" - Dan Bernstein isn't the only guy with his style of licensing).

Of course, the fact that the Nessus 2.2.5 tree is *already* GPL means 2 things:

1) Tim is totally in his rights to start a fork - if anything, the right to
fork the tree is one of the primary rights under the GPL.

2) The Nessus crew can't easily un-GPL the code either.  The most practical way
to do that would be to release a Nessus 3.0 that shares absolutely zero of the
code, and under whatever new license they want.

All in all, instead of a fork, I'd rather see planning to make sure somebody is
ready to take over stewardship/maintenance of the code when Tenable finally
wants to get out of keeping the Nessus 2.X tree.


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