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Reducing security risks from open source software

Despite the best efforts of my dog, a local cab company and the train service, which collectively tried their best to prevent it, I managed to get into London to meet up with Sandy Carter, IBM's worldwide VP of SOA, who had been speaking at an event where she ran through the five entry points to adopting a service-oriented architecture.

The five are, let's face it, hardly earth-shattering if you think about it: people, process, information, re-use, and connectivity. But perhaps the more interesting question then becomes which of these causes SOA implementers the most problems?

It proved to be the one word that is most likely to induce panic amongst developers - re-use.

"It is a cultural and societal issue," Carter said, though she was able to suggest cultural and societal methodologies to circumvent the problem. ""We know of one customer that got over the issue by changing its developer reward structure," she said. "Instead of rewarding then for technical developments, such as creating something that could be patented, staff are now rewarded for creating code that can be re-used.”

The other side of the coin is also rewarded, which is the good bit. Developers that manage to re-use some of the re-useable code also get rewarded for their efforts.

Given that an estimated 80 per cent of IT software budgets get spent on maintenance, re-using proven code can save real money - but not in the expected form of developers' jobs. As Carter observed: "Name me an IT manager that does not have a project list longer than they can complete?" ®

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