What are the main advantages of using LibreSSL vs OpenSSL?

As I understood LibreSSL is a fork of OpenSSL:

LibreSSL is a version of the TLS/crypto stack forked from OpenSSL in 2014, with goals of modernizing the codebase, improving security, and applying best practice development processes.

Seems like a good idea to use it.

Is it this library widely used? Why would server administrators choose LibreSSL over OpenSSL?


2 Answers 2


There is a very extensive article at Wikipedia and it does not make sense to reiterate everything here. But to give you some highlights:

  • It replaces OpenSSL on OpenBSD, OS X since 10.11 and on some other systems.
  • It started with throwing away lots of stuff which was considered useless for the target platforms or insecure by design and it also added some more secure defaults.
  • The result of this is that from the 6 critical vulnerabilities in OpenSSL since the fork none affected LibreSSL.

Why would server administrators choose LibreSSL over OpenSSL?

If anybody cares about security or wants to better sleep at night and not care about the next OpenSSL vulnerability the choice should be clear.

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    I specifically am using LibreSSL as libtls makes implementing secure TLS so, freaking easy! No longer needing to go through the horrific OpenSSL documentation, one small manpage for libtls tells you exactly everything you need to know Nov 21, 2017 at 12:03

While the OpenSSL project was busy missing the OpenSSL 3 release date by several years, firing multiple project managers in the process, the LibreSSL developers have started to replace large swaths of the OpenSSL codebase with new ISC-licensed code, while maintaining compatibility with the majority of OpenSSL 1.0 and 1.1 APIs. LibreSSL also has not fired any project managers or missed any key deadlines. And, as noted above, the LibreSSL developers are willing to collaborate on missing functionality as needed. I do not think we can expect such levels of collaboration with the OpenSSL team, even if their project had healthy governance: they appear to have intentionally installed multiple layers of red tape between themselves and the community.

FIPS mode One major issue that would require addressing is that LibreSSL has removed FIPS mode, while we have end users who require FIPS mode for compliance reasons. One possibility could be to reintroduce FIPS mode as a set of configurations which restrict ciphersuites to ones that have been approved for use under FIPS. In the past, however, this led to OpenSSL being used for some packages in lieu of LibreSSL so that those users could make use of a FIPS module. Discussing FIPS compliance functionality with LibreSSL developers would be considered a task item if we looked in this direction

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