UK cyber-security firm announced this week plans to open-source the Sandboxie project, a Windows utility that lets users run any application inside a secure sandbox.
Prior to this week, the project, which had amassed quite the loyal following, had been only available under a commercial license.
On Tuesday, Sophos made the app a free download, and said it intended to publish its source code under an open-source license in the coming future.
"Sandboxie has never been a significant component of Sophos' business, and we have been exploring options for its future for a while," said Seth Geftic, Director of Product Marketing at Sophos.
"Frankly, the easiest and least costly decision for Sophos would have been to simply end of life Sandboxie," he said. "However, we love the technology too much to see it fade away. More importantly, we love the Sandboxie community too much to do that."
"After thoughtful consideration we decided that the best way to keep Sandboxie going was to give it back to its users - transitioning it to an open source tool," Geftic said.
Until Sophos works out the kinks of releasing the tool as an open-source project, they've made Sandboxie a free download, available from its official website.
Sandboxie launched back in 2004 and in its initial version only supported Internet Explorer (IE), hence its original name of SandboxIE.
It purpose was to contain the IE browser inside a sandbox, which is a limited container where an app can run, separate from the rest of the operating system and adjacent apps. Sandboxes are an efficient way of constraining malicious code, so it can't reach sensitive parts of a user's computer.
The project became very popular, and its creator, Ronen Tzur, sold it to cyber-security firm Invincea in 2013. Along the way, Sandboxie started supporting other browsers, and was also expanded to run any other type of Windows apps, making it an ideal product to deploy inside sensitive enterprise networks.
Sophos acquired Sandboxie when it bought Invincea in February 2017.