The first International Workshop on Foundations and Techniques bringing together Free/Libre/Open Source Software and Formal Methods (FLOSS-FM 2008) will be held jointly with the second International Workshop on Foundations and Techniques for Open Source Software Certification (OpenCert 2008)
The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers from academia and industry who are broadly interested in the application of open source technologies and techniques to the Formal Methods world, and conversely, in developing formal methods for use in conjunction with open-source projects.
The FLOSS-FM workshop will treat themes which deal with the conjunction of open source software and Formal Methods in any way, such as the development of formal methods tools via or incorporating open source software, or formal methods aimed at open source, or models and techniques that treat of the two areas in synergy with each other.
Over the last decade, the importance of open source software has increased dramatically, some of the reasons behind the increase being:
- the outstanding success of flagship open source projects, notably the Linux operating system, the Apache web server and the Mozilla Web browser;
- the movement by local, regional and national governments throughout the world toward the use of open source software in their administrative processes in order to reduce reliance on proprietary formats and software and thereby achieve greater control over security;
- the fact that the use of open source software often leads to substantial cost savings;
- the fact that in resource-poor environments, open source development generally constitutes a more appropriate technology than similar or equivalent proprietary offerings.
Moreover, open source development brings novel sociological and economic advances, notably collaborative context and worth based on availability rather than exclusivity. Formal Methods developers have as much to gain as anyone from this changing socio-economic landscape.
Yet other characteristics of open source software - its pervasiveness, an unconventional development model, the permanent public availability of legacy code, rapid evolution, mean that
- it is hard to objectively assess the quality of an open source project at any particular moment;
- open source projects are hard to control or predict
and thus open source software is not only an opportunity but also a challenge for Formal Methods practitioners.