Thursday, January 24, 2008

HP Launches New Websites to Manage Open Source Software

HP announced the launch of two websites to assist companies in managing open source software: This site provides a tool that HP developed internally to assist in the management of FOSS. The tool was designed to "quickly and accurately describe how a given open source project was licensed." It is designed to analyze all of the source code for a given project and uses license declarations and "tell tale" phrases to identify which software licenses are being used. This community site provides access to information on FOSS and how to manage it. FOSSBazaar is designed to be a site share information and best practices on managing open source software, with issues ranging from license management to vulnerabilities in FOSS projects. HP has posted significant material on FOSS Governance in the "Getting Started" folder.

The site is unique because it provides a single location to discuss information which is currently spread across multiple sites. I think that the site will be very valuable to the FOSS community, but only if they use it. In fact, I have contributed information on intellectual property to the site:

The availability of this tool as well as the more familiar Black Duck and Palamida tools mean that the use of FOSS will be receiving increasing levels of scrutiny. We have already seen much greater scrutiny of these issues both at funding for venture capital backed startups and in mergers and acquisitions. In fact, several large companies have established specific, separate due diligence procedures focused solely on open source use. Since more than 95% of venture backed startups exit through acquisition, the management of FOSS use should be a priority for technology startups. Moreover, with the increasing use of litigation by some projects, the management of FOSS use needs to become a priority for all companies using software (which is essentially all companies)

I recommend that you take the sites for a spin.