Linus Torvalds Invites Attackers to Join the Kernel Community

Sep 20, 2017

He wants attackers to join the community instead of attacking the code.

Last week at the Open Source Summit, Linus Torvalds sent an open invitation to security hackers and attackers to join the Linux kernel community.

Torvalds is not a huge fan of the “security community” because he doesn’t see it as black and white. He maintains that bugs are part of the software development process and they cannot be avoided, no matter how hard you try: “constant absolute security does not exist, even if we do a perfect job,” said Torvalds in a conversation with Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation.

In a previous conversation with us, Torvalds said there are way too many people out there who continue to search for bugs and holes in software to attack.

Torvalds is fascinated by how smart some of these security hackers are. They always find something, in a very clever way, somewhere that no one thought could have been a security hole.

“As a technical person, I’m always very impressed by some of the people who are attacking our code,” Torvalds said. “I get the feeling that these smart people are doing really bad things, that I wish they were on our side because they are so smart, and they could help us.”

Torvalds said that the kernel community would be in much better shape if they could get as many of those smart people before turning to the dark side. He wanted them to help improve the code instead of attacking it.

“I’m encouraging the people who are interested in security to come to us instead of attacking us,” said Torvalds.

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