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OpenChain On Security

By 2022-01-19July 26th, 2022Featured, News

Over the last 12 months there have been several noteworthy concerns around open source and security. The exposure of vulnerability in software has exposed underlying issues with process management and ultimately with sustainability. The OpenChain Project, steward of ISO/IEC 5230:2020, the International Standard for open source compliance, has been at the forefront of addressing these matters.

In August 2021 we responded to market demand by releasing a Security Assurance Reference Guide. The first version of this document explained how ISO/IEC 5230 could be used through the optics of security. Like all our documentation, it was developed and released in the public arena, and subject to review and contributions from a wide array of stakeholders.

We are now working on the second iteration of this document. It does for security what ISO/IEC 5230 did for compliance: it provides a minimal, broadly applicable list of key requirements to institute a quality assurance program to address the domain space.

We do not intend to replace existing security standards. We do not intend to bloat ISO/IEC 5230. Instead, we are pursuing our proven approach of developing a real-world solution for a real-world problem that can be immediately deployed, and over time fits together with adjacent activities as neatly as a jigsaw puzzle.

For those new to this topic and wondering what OpenChain’s engagement means in practice, a summary of our Specification Work Group discussions throughout 2020-2021 is in order.

We are considering three paths for the security domain. One sees the Security Assurance Reference Guide maintaining its stance solely as a guide. Another sees the Security Assurance Reference Guide evolve into a Reference Specification that may become a de facto industry standard over time. Lastly, there is the option to have the Security Assurance Reference Guide evolve into an optional component for a future iteration of ISO/IEC 5230.

You can contribute to this activity by joining our bi-weekly global work team calls [1], our specification mailing list [2], and opening issues on the relevant repository in GitHub [3].


The OpenChain Project is far from alone in helping to address concerns around open source and security. The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) is a sister project at the Linux Foundation dedicated to securing the open source ecosystem. The Software Package Data Exchange Project (SPDX) maintains ISO/IEC 5962:2021, an International Standard for Software Bill of Materials. The Linux Foundation also hosts tools to help with automation in the space. We are collaborating to ensure the future of open source is secure.

You can expect a continuation of these activities throughout 2022. There will be an excellent opportunity for you to get involved during this quarter, as the OpenChain Project hosts a security summit to enable our extensive global community to share notes. To learn more about this, as well as our other activities, join one of our calls or one of our mailing lists. Everyone is welcome.

Get Started With Our Community

Attend The OpenChain Security Summit On February 17th and 18th

The Security Summit will take place on February 17th 2022 at 18:00 PST / February 18th 2022 02:00 UTC / 10:00 CST / 11:00 JST. It will be hosted on Zoom and it will be free to attend. It will also be recorded. You can expect to come away with a clear understanding of market conditions, how the Linux Foundation is addressing them, and where OpenChain fits into the picture.