OpenLogic census to track enterprise open source

Just in time for Christmas, open source services and software vendor OpenLogic is pulling a King Herod and calling on enterprises to count themselves in for the tricky task of compiling an accurate census of open source deployments.

Shane Schick’s Computerworld

Why open source has always deserved a census

The Broomfield, Co.-based company has redesigned its OpenLogic Discovery tool, which the company released earlier this year to aid its customers in accounting for the amount of open source products in their infrastructure, according to senior vice-president of marketing and products Kim Weins.

The rejigged automated census tool—dubbed the OSS Discovery—aims to “help users get a count of open source used in the enterprise on a broad, global basis,” Weins said. “It will help share information about what open source software is used, and thus help drive adoption of it (when other companies see how much of it is out there.”

OSS Discovery is a free tool that is downloaded from OpenLogic’s Web site and then scans a number of systems to report back on the open source products present. Currently, OpenLogic has built in almost a thousand “fingerprints” that identify open source software.

Customers do not have to submit any sort of identifying information, taking privacy issues out of the picture, according to Weins. The only identifiers are geographic location, size, and industry. Individual reports can be generated for users, who can view the information before deciding whether to add the results into the census. When it comes to getting more of a big picture from the census results, said Weins, users will be issued regular stats and reports about the incoming information.

“But there isn’t a flexible search interface for whatever they want to look at,” she said.

Weins says that the tool benefits from its open source structure in that the open source community can help in adding additional “fingerprints.”

Another way the company will gain “fingerprints” is by turning to industry partners. It is in talks with several vendors that it hopes will become partners who can defray the start-up costs of the database, and spread the word among their customers as a way of getting a toehold in the industry (they will be announced in early 2008). In return for their contribution, the companies will get an extract of the database that will enable them to play with the information more for their own research purposes.

In addition to the companies’ advocacy of the project, Weins said that OpenLogic will be spreading the word through industry functions and tradeshows. As for the future of the census, Weins said that OpenLogic hopes to make it a more regular event (such as on an annual basis). To help this along, the tool has a built-in feature that identifies information that is a “repeat” entry, or additional information, for long-term accuracy’s sake.

The Open Source Census Project will be hosted online by Web-based software development collaboration platform vendor CollabNet Inc.

Bill Portelli, president and CEO of Brisbane, Calif.-based CollabNet, said the project will help participants know what they are running and how those applications could be reused elsewhere. “The open-source community is a terrific way to leverage the community’s resources globally,” he said. “Once companies know the applications are there, they can [easily] reuse them elsewhere to accelerate innovation.”

— with files from IDG Newswire

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