Those wanting to support the OpenSSL project can now make donations in bitcoin, as well as via more traditional means of payment.
First released in 1998, OpenSSL is a commercial-grade, open-source toolkit implementing the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols, as well as a full-strength general purpose cryptography library.
Currently at version 1.0.1g, and with 1.0.2 currently in beta, it is estimated that OpenSSL is now used on two-thirds of all web servers.
However, the OpenSSL project is headed by a relatively small team with just one full-time employee. The annual budget for the whole project is under $1m and much of the money comes in the form of donations through the OpenSSL Software Foundation.
The OSF, which was set up to support the project, is incorporated as a regular for-profit organisation, so the donations are not tax-deductible, but corporate donations are considered business expenses.
Four levels of sponsorship acknowledgement are on offer, starting at $5,000 a year, and ad hoc donations of any amount are also welcome. The foundation accepts several major credit cards and PayPal, as well as – as of a few days ago – bitcoin.
OpenSSL does not get a lot of media coverage except in professional, niche publications.
However, a few weeks ago the foundation got its 15 minutes of fame for all the wrong reasons, when the notorious Heartbleed bug – which was caused by an oversight in OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f – came to light.
Caution is still advised, however, and many sites and services are advising users to change their passwords for additional security and peace of mind.
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