OpenSSL: the cryptography Lego set
When I got a new Lego set the other day, I discovered that it made a really cool train. However, it was missing the cow-catcher, so I built one for the Lego engine. There are other things I did to improve the train car -- I added a functioning light, an electric engine, additional freight cars, and a caboose. You can think of OpenSSL as a Lego set. You're provided with the base -- the libraries and the command line tools -- but you build the rest. Like a pre-designed Lego set, OpenSSL is a cryptographic toolkit that includes libraries and the header files (the train engine) and the command-line tool.
OpenSSL is based on its predecessor, SSLeay, which was originally developed as a free implementation of Netscape's Secure Socket Layer by Eric Young and Tim Hudson (both SSLeay and OpenSSL have Apache-style licenses). Both Young and Hudson did such a good job with SSLeay that they were hired by RSA Australia. Enter OpenSSL: OpenSSL builds on the work done on SSLeay, and then some. OpenSSL offers support for SSLv2 and SSLv3 as well as the IETF standard TLSv1. In addition to that, OpenSSL has built a great set of cryptographic libraries.
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