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Web, IT goliaths to pour gold into more open-source code

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Tech's biggest names have vowed to pour cash into crucial open-source projects that glue the web together – and hopefully kill off any dire bugs that could wreck the net.

The Linux Foundation announced on Thursday that it had formed "The Core Infrastructure Initiative" to fund open projects that are critical to the functioning of the internet.

The goal is to make sure the recent Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability and worse omnishambles never happen again. It comes after the chap who accidentally introduced the Heartbleed bug called for more people to work on the OpenSSL code. The library is used across the world to secure websites, VPNs, and more, from eavesdroppers and tamperers.

"The Core Infrastructure Initiative is a multi-million dollar project housed at The Linux Foundation to fund open-source projects that are in the critical path for core computing functions," the Linux Foundation declared.

So far, the companies involved include: Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Qualcomm, Rackspace, VMware, IBM, Google, Fujitsu. "We expect more to follow suit in the coming weeks and months," the Linux Foundation wrote in an FAQ document. (Where, El Reg wonders, are HP, Red Hat, Oracle and Ubuntu, to name a few?)

Many of these companies compete with one another in a multitude of areas, so by teaming up they also highlight the severity of the password and crypto-leak-leaking Heartbleed flaw and just how scary it was for many top tech firms.

Initially, the Core Infrastructure Initiative will fund work on shoring up OpenSSL. The rough goal is to fund some key developers and give them resources to improve OpenSSL's security and make it more responsive to patch requests.

"CII was formed as a response to the Heartbleed security crisis; however, the Initiative's efforts will not be restricted to security-related issues," an FAQ document states.

"Members of CII will evaluate open source projects that are essential to global computing infrastructure and are experiencing under-investment. These companies recognize the need for directed funds for highly critical open source software projects they all consume and that run much of modern day society. They also value and invest in developers and collaborative software development and want to support this important work."

The precise amount of funding was not disclosed. This looks to be a better initiative than a scheme started by security startup Bugcrowd to get more than $100,000 in donations to financially reward infosec professionals for closing other OpenSSL bugs. At the time of writing Bugcrowd's scheme had raised a little under $8,000. Meanwhile, OpenBSD has been busy forking OpenSSL into LibreSSL and tidying it up. ®

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