At a Gartner conference in Orlando today, Palamida and GroundWork are launching what they hope will become one of the big buzzwords of 2006 -- software transparency.
What it means, in practice, is you should know, not just whether your software is open source, but that the software inside your software is open source.
Palamida CEO Mark Tolliver explained what this means:
We are going to list, publicly, under
itingredientsipingredients, what makes up our software. We think by doing so we may enhance transparency in the use of intellectual property, being more respectful of people who write it. For users, it gives them more visibility into what they’re bringing in, so they can evaluate it.
We have established a format for listing this stuff and created
itingredients.orgipingredients. Who knows, this may catch on. Our view is that open source has become such a factor in how software is developed, that it’s only natural that we set an example for how organizations might declare their use of this software. We explain the licenses of all the software, so we’re shown to be acting in compliance, and to put it all in one place so our customers and partners can assess our use of it.
Now, I understand the hidden agenda here. Palamida offers software audit services, checking your code to make sure it's not violating licenses. GroundWork offers open source network monitoring. But in an enterprise environment, knowing what you have and the rules under which you have it is the key to making a success of open source. And big companies need open source, too.
So this looks like a win-win-win.