Is it feasible to provide a warranty for FOSS free & open-source software
like the Linux kernel and Python?

  • the world’s servers rely on the Linux kernel
    • it’s open source and not policed
    • kernel security isn’t well understood
    • has contributors from China and Russia, so “the [US] government is [aware that] critical infrastructure [code] could be […] written by sanctioned entities”
  • even proprietary software might be >70% built on OSS open-source software

  • the US military wants to prevent crackers from injecting malicious code into FOSS
  • currently, the FOSS world is largely self-regulating and manually tracks security threats
  • DARPA’s SocialCyber project will use AI artificial intelligence
    to detect FOSS threats
    • malicious code, poor code, under-maintained projects & unhealthy dev communities
    • focus on e.g. Linux kernel, Python, etc.
  • FOSS contributors’ “identities […] are often obscure, making it hard to hold them accountable”
    • :stop_sign: personal opinion: FOSS licences tend to explicitly state “provided as-is, no warranty.” (Interestingly, the GPL-2.0, which covers the Linux kernel, goes further to allow optional warranties for a fee.) So while it’s fine to detect & delete bad code, and even kickban malicious people from FOSS projects, it’s probably not possible to hold said people legally accountable
    • :sweat_smile: personal opinion: there’s a more legally sound albeit probably less feasible solution. Does DARPA intend to review the Linux kernel in detail and provide its own warranty? Would that mean I could sue DARPA the next time my OS operating system