Microsoft Links CodePlex to Open Source Repositories

Microsoft this week took another step to forge ties with the open source community through a pact with Black Duck Software that will feed code and project information from Microsoft's CodePlex into Black Duck's open source code repositories.

Black Duck's KnowledgeBase and code are among a growing base of repositories used by enterprise development managers to search and manage open source code.

Since its founding in 2002, Black Duck said it has already gathered 200,000 open source projects from 4,100 sites. Black Duck said it has added 40,000 new projects since January to KnowledgeBase, the company's searchable database of open source projects and code. is a free searchable engine acquired by Black Duck last year that allows anyone to search for open source code. It hosts more than 2 billion lines of open source code and is growing at a pace of 2,000 projects each month, according to the company. The company said it has 600 customers.

Microsoft's CodePlex hosts primarily Windows and .NET code and data, though it increasingly gathers relevant open source projects, as well. CodePlex currently has 9,000 projects. While Black Duck's KnowledgeBase and had previously gathered some CodePlex content, Microsoft is now providing a direct feed.

"It's never been as complete as it could be in terms of both covering all the projects as well as having access to all of the associated meta data and project information around all of those 9,000 projects," said Peter Vescuso, Black Duck's executive vice president of marketing and business development. "The value of our service hinges on the completeness of the code base and the value of the information we can provide."

The deal does not call for Black Duck to provide a return feed to Microsoft's CodePlex.

A growing number of enterprises are using code repositories like KnowledgeBase to better manage their use of open source code and make sure they are in compliance with any licensing issues, according to Jay Lyman, an analyst at The 451 Group. Black Duck is a leading provider, though there are numerous other players who offer code repositories such as Protocode, Ohlol and OpenLogic, among others. SourceForge and CollabNet are also popular resources, Lyman added.

Lyman said he wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft involved in further pacts. "It's interesting to see Microsoft contributing to the legitimacy of open source software and the intellectual property behind open source software," Lyman said.

Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond added in an e-mail interview that it will help development managers get a better handle on their combined open source and .NET projects.

"The moves that Black Duck has made will make it easier to identify and control the adoption of useful OSS software provided by Microsoft and other parties," Hammond noted. "I view it as yet another step in the maturation of OSS in the .NET world."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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