This Roman knows how to spot the best open source

Many big companies now stand on the shoulders of open source dwarves

My Italian friend Roberto Galoppini has developed a new open source evaluation tool, SOSOpenSource, and Funambol has passed its tests.

Most open source evaluation tools use a corporate database of code and its licenses. They also tell you only whether code is open source, and what its license says if it is.

Galoppini, who is among those fortunate enough to make his home in Rome, Italy, is doing more:

SOS Open Source takes advantage of the abundance of information - caused by the fact that many projects are hosted and enlisted in many forges and meta-forges - and with heuristics based on experts' wisdom give useful recommendations for decisions. The analysis returns a set of open source candidates that are robust (stable, mature and backed by a viable community), supported (either by a community or vendors) and grant evolvability (readable and maintainable code).

If you would like to see his technical points in a slideshow, here is one.

Essentially, while services like Black Duck and Palamida are most useful before you're about to use or re-use code, and you're dealing with lawyers, Galoppini can help you choose among open source projects to find the best long-term fit, working with developers.

Many big companies now stand on the shoulders of open source dwarves, he writes. Twitter has used 29 open source projects in its development and sent back code to 7 of them. Facebook has used 20 open source projects and contributed back to 6 of them. (Hi-ho indeed.)

That is going to solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. How many companies have committed themselves to supporting an open source project, only to see it fizzle away due to lack of community support? (Raise your hands, don't be shy. Here, I'll raise mine first.)

He adds that SOS Open Source incorporates over 60 tools and 8 different EU-funded projects' findings so you can evaluate not only the license risk but the business risk in supporting open source components.

You want open source that lasts? Look to the Eternal City. Give it a whirl and see if you like it. If you do, say grazie to Signore Galoppini. He also takes Euros.