New SourceLabs App Aims to Make Open Source Safe

SourceLabs released on Wednesday the Open Source Management System (OSMS) to help control the legal, security and operational risks associated with open source software.

The OSMS is a platform to centralize and manage open source software code. The new platform will help organizations maximize the benefits of open source programming while mitigating the risks. It will enable large enterprises to improve compliance, promote the prudent usage of open source and obtain better operational efficiencies from open source technologies.

SourceLabs’ customers use numerous open source projects for applications running from internal datacenter tools. Gartner forecasts that Linux-based mission-critical IT data center deployments through 2009 will result in more than US$2.2 billion of the $11 billion revenue from servers shipped.

“This is a brand new product in the industry. Developing it was not even in our business plan. But our customers last year asked for a solution to wrap around their various open source applications,” Byron Sebastian, CEO of SourceLabs, told LinuxInsider.

Quick Patch

SourceLabs initially deployed the product with a few of its existing customers and found it was very successful, said Sebastian.

“We designed the Open Source Management System to make it easy for large companies to manage open source software usage in a way that fits in with their policies and best practices, while at the same time encouraging and promoting the sanctioned usage of open source,” he said.

While open source software has been widely adopted throughout large organizations organically, it typically bypasses traditional controls, exposing businesses to unknown and often unnecessary security, operational and legal risks, he said.

Market response is showing a very strong demand for this type of product, Sebastian said.

Managerial Tasks

OSMS extends code management and policy enforcement capabilities for large enterprise users. This provides easier management of open source software. The advantage is a safer and more dependable alternative to costly proprietary software.

The wiki engine that powers the OSMS platform lets users create aggregated dashboards of relevant information for each application and its free open source software (FOSS) dependencies. Based on SWiK, a SourceLabs project, the wiki technology can be used for collaboration, self-help and documentation to facilitate the development and foster internal communities.

The platform enables teams to subscribe their application to FOSS updates and determine the impact and value of subscribing to software updates, such as new security issues and patches. This ensures that development teams are using approved software builds or releases.

Other Features

Library management tools are included to enable users to manage their FOSS assets and updates. Workflow will integrate use cases such as requesting new FOSS artifact, verifying FOSS artifact integrity, and tracking FOSS artifact usage. This helps enforce and track exception processes and requests.

The software also integrates SourceLabs’ notifications for most popular FOSS. The Open Source Intelligence Framework generates feeds originated by SourceLabs. This feature helps software teams and the software librarian to stay apprised on critical issues and new releases so they can make informed decisions.

In addition, the software gives development teams tools to integrate applications to approved FOSS using existing build/deploy processes and, where appropriate, compilation tools.

Proactive Diagnostics tools create customized feeds for tracking noncompliance with corporate FOSS policies and standards. Additionally, these tools provide tracking against runtime exceptions in production applications.

Exception logs are imported into the FOSS knowledge base to allow users to query for solutions, including patch updates and recommended workarounds. Also, a source code repository is included for centralized distribution of open source software throughout the enterprise.

Market Focus

OSMS addresses the Linux-based mission-critical IT data center market with a solution that resolves security, compliance, legal and architectural concerns around the usage of open source, said SourceLabs. It centralizes distributions, provides a platform for sharing information and enforces policies.

SourceLabs developed OSMS in collaboration with large early-adopter institutions in their vertical markets. By introducing a common solution for all stakeholders across the enterprise, OSMS helps companies develop, implement and succeed with a coherent, pragmatic strategy for open source adoption.

Specific pricing information was not yet available, according to Sebastian.

Pricing is based on volume of the user’s open source applications, he said.

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