OpenSSL powers about 75% of the Internet. That’s why the Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL wreaked havoc on the Internet earlier this month, affecting some of the biggest tech giants on the planet. Despite its importance in the Internet world, little has been done to maintain it. The OpenSSL Foundation has just one full-time employee, though its software is used by tech heavyweights that rake in billions of dollars in profits every quarter.
OpenSSL receives just $2000 in donations per year
But the sudden chaos caused by the Heartbleed bug has prompted technology giants including Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and other to come together to prevent any similar crisis in the future. OpenSSL Foundation relies on donations rather than charging for its software. Last week, president of OpenSSL Foundation, Steve Marquess said in a blog post that the organization receives about $2000 in annual donations. After Heartbleed, the group got some publicity, and received more than $9000 in just two weeks.
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Now big technology companies have pledged to donate $100,000 a year for the next three years to the group so that it can hire more full-time developers. Twelve companies have joined hands for a new Core Infrastructure Initiative. The project will be managed by Linux Foundation. That means Linux Foundation will receive $3.6 million in funding to help under-funded open-source projects.
OpenSSL is the top priority
Linux Foundation can’t direct the money. Instead, it will simply work as a place to hold the money. Member donors will decide where that money will go. Twelve companies have already joined the donor list, and a few others may join soon. Due to the Heartbleed crisis, the member donors to finance OpenSSL first. The initiative will also support other open-source projects like PGP, ModSSL, and OpenCryptolab, not necessarily in that order. The donors include some of the prominent names including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE:RAX), Fujitsu Limited (ADR) (OTCMKTS:FJTSY) (TYO:6702) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).