Black Duck gets Bigger

Black Duck Software, once known better for legal advice to companies considering using open-source software is becoming a one-stop, open-source business advisor for enterprises.

When Black Duck Software started in the early 2000s, its mission was to reassure companies that there was no real legal risk in using open-source software, despite SCO crying wolf. That was then. This is now. Today, Black Duck is becoming a one-stop, open-source business advisor for organizations, government bodies, and businesses. The company took a big step forward in doing this by acquiring The Olliance Group, a privately-held, open-source business and strategy consulting firm.

This acquisition, Black Duck's third in a matter of months, expands the company's offerings to include open-source business and strategy consulting services to help its enterprise IT clients capitalize on the significant strategic, technological, and financial benefits of open-source software. Black Duck acquisitions include, an open-source code search engine, best known for its Ruby resources;, a popular directory of open-source software and a vibrant Web community; and SpikeSource, a software tools and services provider.

Olliance Group, while it will be wholly owned by Black Duck, will remain an independent business within the company. Andrew Aitken, Founder of the Olliance Group, and Greg Olsen, Senior Partner, will join Black Duck. Aitken will serve as General Manager of the Olliance Group business unit, and also will continue to independently organize and manage the Open Source Think Tank, a commercial open-source industry conference.

Black Duck plans to take a hands off approach to Olliance. Tim Yeaton, the CEO and President of Black Duck Software, told me that "With over 9 years developing their practice, and hundreds of customer engagements, Olliance is in our view the best in this space, which is why we wanted to acquire them. They've even helped leading consultancy companies develop their open source strategy. They possess deep knowledge about FOSS strategy, how to craft it in support of company and development organization objectives, as well as deep process knowledge to help companies embed the strategy and policy right into their business and development processes. Olliance's strengths with FOSS strategy and policy are a great fit with our automated open source code management and governance solutions."

Indeed, Yeaton wants to see Olliance grow. "We certainly plan on growing the business and adding analysts and other people over time. Andrew Aitken, who founded Olliance and who will continue to run this business unit within Black Duck as the GM, has aggressive growth objectives. We've structurally set up Olliance within Black Duck as an independent business unit, so Andrew has the freedom to do what he thinks is right to grow the business."

This combination of Black Duck and Olliance sounds promising. In a statement, Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, the open-source, private-cloud business and former CEO of MySQL AB. said, "The combination of Olliance's deep open source strategy experience and Black Duck's automated open source code management and governance solutions provides customers with a compelling end-to-end value proposition."