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Black Duck Opens Code Center

Tracking which software licenses are being used as part of an application development lifecycle is an important activity. Developers need to know where code is being used and whether or not it has been approved for use.

Software licensing vendor Black Duck now claims to have both parts of the software licensing issue conundrum in check with its new Code Center application working in concert with Black Duck's protexIP software compliance management platform.

"What we have designed is an enterprise class management system that is designed to enable software developers to maximize the use of code components and also maximize re-use scenarios using either open source or third party code," Black Duck CEO Doug Levin told InternetNews.com.

Black Duck's Code Center includes search, selection and approval workflow capabilities as well as a whole set of tracking mechanisms for software components. Levin noted that code re-use is becoming increasingly more common with enterprises using open source code components as well as third-party Java source code in the form of .jar files.

In addition to identifying what is being used as part of a particular software development project, Code Center also enables users to check to see if a particular piece of code is being used somewhere else.

Levin noted that as code components move throughout the application development lifecycle it's good to be able identify the source of where the code the code came from as well whether or not it has already been approved for use.

While code management is a very competitive market with big vendors like IBM's Rational holding sway, Levin sees Code Center as being a complementary effort.

"IBM is a strategic partner of ours and we'll integrate with the whole range of Rational projects," Levin said. "We don't compete with Rational because the main benefit of Code Center is for dealing with components that are outside of the company and are being licensed in or downloaded. Most rational product deal with software files that are located inside the company and don't have an outside component. So we're very complementary."

In addition to IBM Rational, Code Center also has support for Eclipse and will work with Eclipse based IDEs .

The Black Duck Code Center will be available as a standalone product though Levin noted it makes sense to be used together with Black Duck's current flagship product protexIP. Levin explained that what protexIP does is code analysis to do the final build report for an application identifying all the included licenses and any associated licensing issues.

In Levin's view Code Center makes sense at the beginning of the software development lifecycle as a complement to what protexIP can do at the end. That said, there could be a need for protexIP at the beginning of the process as well helping developers to try and determine what a particular component of open source or third party code actually contains from a licensing perspective.

One of Levin's success criteria for the roll out of Code Center in fact is that a good number of Black Duck's existing protexIP customers adopt Code Center.

There has been increasing emphasis in recent months on managing open source code in order to ensure that it is being used properly. The Software Freedom Law Center bringing legal suits on behalf of developers against a trio of companies including Verizon.

Black Duck's protexIP is among the solutions that may help to keep enterprises away from the courtroom. Just last week HP launched its own effort to help enterprises with open source licensing issues.

"We think there is a whole group of enterprise customers that are that just starting to adopt open source and they are looking to support it," Levin said. "We hope they will start with Code Center and then back into protexIP"