Google proposed base security standards for critical open-source packages last week, recognizing that open-source code accounts for a tremendous amount of modern software. But it's still unclear how, exactly, to define a critical package.

Open-source code is ubiquitous for a variety of reasons. By not reinventing the wheel, it saves time and money throughout development and testing. And security of open-source packages can rival that of commercial ones.

"We see open source in around 90% of programs we scan," said Chris Wysopal, founder and chief technology officer of automated application security tester Veracode. "The only reason a program doesn't have open-source code is if someone deliberately decides not to use it."

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