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White House calls for more open-source software collaboration

The Biden Administration is asking for public input on ways to help secure open source software

The Biden Administration has called on both public and private-sector companies to collaborate on open-source software (OSS).

The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) put out a request for information (RFI) asking for information on how OSS is being secured and what can further be done to improve the quality and security of code in open-source projects.

The Office said that in making the request it has the backing of federal cybersecurity agency CISA, the National Science Foundation, and DARPA.

In making the request, ONCD says it is trying to get a clear picture on what is currently being done to secure OSS and what more can be done over the loong-term.

"The security and resiliency of open-source software is a national security, economic, and a technology innovation imperative," the RFI reads.

"Because open-source software plays a vital and ubiquitous role across the federal government and critical infrastructure,1 vulnerabilities in open-source software components may cause widespread downstream detrimental effects."

According to the ONCD, the Administration is all in behind OSS but has serious concerns about vulnerabilities and updates, particularly as the nature of open-source makes it easier for both white and black hat hackers to find possible vulnerabilities.

Because of this, the White House says that it wants to help push measures to improve both the security and the quality of code in open-source projects.

"The federal government recognizes the immense benefits of open-source software, which enables software development at an incredible pace and fosters significant innovation and collaboration," the RFI reads.

"In light of these factors, as well as the status of open-source software as a free public good, it may be appropriate to make open-source software a national public priority to help ensure the security, sustainability, and health of the open-source software ecosystem."

The RFI also refers to the National Cybersecurity Strategy, a program the White House announced in March which aims to help improve overall network and data security within government agencies as well as the private-sector companies that end up contracting to carry out many of the federal government's IT projects.

The deadline to submit comments on the RFI is October 9.

"Cyber" has been a popular term as of late around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Earlier this month the Biden White House unveiled a long-term plan to overhaul both the education and job recruitment efforts around a number of technology fields including cybersecurity and administration.