Listen, we get it. A better mousetrap comes to market, captures the industry’s attention and imagination and suddenly the executive team tells their PR agency to go all brass knuckle FUD on them (but black ops of course). Recently a few reporter friends sent us an email they got from Lewis PR – who represents Accellion. Here’s our favorite line from the account executive from Lewis PR: “With questions still remaining around open source and security, Accellion’s closed eco-system is far more proven…” Closely followed by: “The NSA scandal has rightly cast a spotlight on issues with public cloud, but at the end of the day, open source too has been prone to vulnerabilities.” “Prone to vulnerabilities”?? “Questions still remaining?? YIKES!! Everyone get off Google NOW, and no more Amazon!! In fact, considering most of the world’s enterprises run significant amounts of open source software … RUN, RUN RUN FOR THE HILLS!!! I wonder if Lewis PR clients Mozilla and 10Gen know how their agency feels about them. Ok, I’ll stop the hyperbole now and address this FUD publicly (as Accellion should have done if they actually believed it). We double-checked the email from Lewis PR, but couldn’t find any facts behind their statements, so we thought we’d provide them ourselves. Mind you, there have been few credible complaints about OSS security in 5+ years, but still… So let’s start with Josh Bressers, a senior security engineer at Red Hat explaining why open source really is the best model for building secure software. “"We don't have clothes on," said Bressers. He didn't mean that they sit around Red Hat central naked - let's hope that's not what he meant. No, what Bressers meant was that in the open source world everything is visible. "We have no secrets," he said. "We can't sneak a security patch in. You can just look at the source code." “But in the closed source world, you have to trust your vendor completely. All you get to see are binaries, so you have no way of knowing how they were built.”” How about North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software’s seventh annual Future of Open Source Survey. Said Michael J. Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. "This year's results signal a shift in reasons why open source is chosen over proprietary alternatives. Increasingly, enterprises see it as leading innovation, delivering higher quality and driving growth rather than being just a free or low-cost alternative. Going forward, as broader adoption creates a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment, we can expect more disruption from open source, new business models and many more exciting new projects and companies." Even as early as 2004, IBM got in on the action, with an 87-page tome detailing just how secure open source is. The bottom line is that you don’t have to trust open source as you have to proprietary software, you can verify it for yourself. Accellion, we know why you’re nervous: more and more companies are replacing your proprietary, one-size, one-color, one-flavor fits-all model with one that integrates directly into a company’s security, governance, authentication and reporting systems (another win for the openness of open source). And we know even more are deciding to bypass your product altogether for one that is extensible -- so leaves plenty of room for creative expansion (yep, you got it, more open source benefits). Come on Accellion, stop trying to scare people (and forcing junior level PR people to do it) about open source – and doing it behind the scenes. Come into the light, tell your customers (and reporters) the truth about open source and your product, it’s ok, really, they already know. We’re sure there are companies out there that can benefit from what you do, really, but let’s stop with the covert FUD, we think you are better than that.
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