I want to make a delicate application of mine (an antivirus actually) open source but I want to have a control on who really obtains the source or not. Preferably they should apply and I or administrators approve their applications. Is there any online platform for this?

The main reason for the control/security is to possibly prevent malware makers to easily discover how to bypass the stealth checking methods it utilizes for malware detection.

Edit: I am looking for advice - possibly to hear from someone who has done something similar.


  • 8
    Are you sure you want to make your application open source? It seems you want very specific restrictions. – Bernard Mar 25 '12 at 18:00
  • 20
    If you control who obtains the source, it's not open source! – user7043 Mar 25 '12 at 18:13
  • 2
    "get bad?" No idea what that means but it seems to be the focus of your worries. If you can you define what "bad" is then you will get better answers, I guarantee. And can you describe in plain english and without using buzz words like "open source" what your end goal with this software is? Usually people who open source their code don't talk about administrative approval before copying so there's a little friction in your question and goals. – Patrick Hughes Mar 25 '12 at 20:02
  • 1
    Check the definition of Open Source as defined by the Open Source Initiative, and see if you still like it: opensource.org/osd.html – user1249 Mar 25 '12 at 20:28
  • 1
    1. If you really make the software open source, it would become almost impossible to control distribution of the source code. Somebody you give it to could pass it on and you would find it very difficult so prove or stop. 2. Security through obscurity is a bad way of trying to keep things secure. – Jaydee Mar 26 '12 at 8:46
  1. You can't really make sure the bad guys won't get to the source code once you release it to anybody.
  2. The bad guys don't really need the source code. They are quite used to finding vulnerabilities by disassembling and experiments.
  3. Many people trust open source (real one, where the source is free to download off the web somewhere) more, because that way they know that:

    1. It does not rely on security by obscurity (with closed-source you never know).
    2. If it's broken and the original author does not fix it, somebody else can step up to do it.
  • great! That was exactly why I already concluded I would go for open source. But thinking about it, one might beginning to wonder why certain methods used by Kaspersky for instance remain mystical to an extent, different vendors use different methods and that makes it really hard for malware writers, so I don't know what making it open source might lead to, especially I'm afraid there might be no useful contributions that can be made to it since most people with the skills won't likely have time for it. – Chibueze Opata Mar 26 '12 at 11:27

One of the main definitions of open source software is that anyone who receives the source code can freely distribute it.

Perhaps you should look into a proprietary license. There is nothing wrong with not releasing code as open source, and it certainly seems like a proprietary license would fit your needs much better. Even if you license a product as proprietary, you can release the source code to parties that you want, but you can still have control on what they do with that code through agreements you make with them before you release it.

  • Okay finally looked up the differences between open source license and proprietary licences and I think I will eventually go with open source, am a bit scared about the possible outcomes but now I think of it, there's a 50:50 chance that everything will go wrong or right. I just want advice and possibly hear from someone who has done something similar – Chibueze Opata Mar 25 '12 at 19:48
  • @opatachibueze - Its not like your antivirus will even be good, the bad guys won't even care about it, far to many players in the pool to make it worth their time. – Ramhound Mar 26 '12 at 12:37
  • I hope it is as you say, but unfortunately, it's not. – Chibueze Opata Apr 8 '12 at 20:13

Probably you want to take a look at GitHub's Micro/Small/Medium account, which allows you to have private repositories; and you have the control on selecting who can access to your repository. See https://github.com/plans for details.

(Note that this private repository hosting service is not free. However, if you are a teacher/student, you can always apply for the free plan, click here https://github.com/edu)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.