Zimmermann calls for NAI to free PGP

Open source salvation?

Phil Zimmermann is calling on Network Associates to open source portions of the PGP encryption program he sold to the security giant in 1997.

The suggestion from the author of PGP comes as NAI continues to search for a buyer for the popular desktop encryption program, having decided to cease development work on the product as part of its reorganisation last year.

NAI has pledged to honour existing contracts, but the lack bug fixes or updates in the pipeline leaves PGP in a state of limbo.

If he had the money, Zimmermann would buy PGP back from NAI but since this isn't possible right now he's suggesting that NAI should open source the software developer's kit and GUI for PGP, while keeping the command line wrapper under wraps. The command line wrapper is a key component of the server version of PGP, which is more popular with corporates.

NAI has poured cold water on the open source idea saying it doesn't represent a viable business model for PGP, which Zimmermann disputes.

PGP's source code has been available for review since the inception of the program, however this doesn't allow for modified versions of the program to be distributed which an open source program would allow. ®

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