Protecode System 4 cuts false positives in code

Protecode Inc. released on Monday the newest version of its tool for helping developers manage open source licenses, this time with a focus on larger enterprises with distributed development projects.

Protecode System 4 brings an “enterprise-class solution that’s scalable from small single-site enterprises to very large multinationals spread cross the globe with multiple development sites,” said the Kanata, Ont.-based company’s CEO, Mahshad Koohgoli.

The technology is based on an open source reference database of approximately 450,000 open source software projects, against which user code is compared.

The improved scalability lets multiple groups of users create virtual instances of the tool such that they each have their own open source management system with policies for specific roles and intellectual property.

Besides scalability, System 4 introduces a new weighted technique to reduce the number of false positives that can be time-consuming and costly to weed through. “The problem with a large database is that it creates a lot of noise because there may be many instances of public domain code that we find similar to your code,” said Mahshad.

The weighting factor identifies only those most relevant instances in the database for which developers might have a licensing obligation.Nominate someone you work with for a ComputerWorld Canada IT Leadership Award 

The new user interface in System 4 aims to streamline download, installation and configuration, as well as provide better navigation of software files.

On the topic of open source development in the enterprise, Jay Lyman, enterprise software analyst with New York-based The 451 Group, previously noted that proper process or policy for bringing in open source components is generally lacking in the enterprise.

“Less and less we hear organizations saying no open source at all,” said Lyman. “That is sounding more and more unreasonable, especially with the economy.”

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau 

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