Open Source Search Site Acquired by Black Duck

Black Duck Software this week announced the acquisition of, a free on-line search engine for open source software and other Web-downloadable code. Waltham, Mass.-based Black Duck is best-known as a provider of software compliance management solutions and strategies for governing a company's software assets.

The acquisition of signifies Black Duck's further embrace of assurance solutions for the software development lifecycle.

"This moves us fully into the development lifecycle," said Black Duck's Founder, Doug Levin. "We were finding that companies were running into code issues early in the process, and it just made sense for us to find a way to get into that process earlier, too, at the point where developers are beginning to select the open source code."

For software developers, the challenge isn't so much about searching for noncompliant code that might get them into trouble. Developers are more concerned about finding free open source software that they can use. To stay competitive, coders need to locate that reusable open source code, those best practices and methods, and the other Web-downloadable stuff that frees them from reinventing the wheel, allowing them to complete their projects faster.

The Web site attracts more than 30,000 developers a day, according its founder, Darren Rush. These visitors search approximately 766 million lines code written in 30 languages, which are identified according to 28 different software licenses, he explained. is Black Duck's first acquisition, and Levin says the two companies are a perfect match.

"The fact that Koders allows you to search based on licenses was evidence that we were going to be compatible philosophically," Levin said. "When it comes to our fundamental principles of trying to help software developers use more and more open source, we were both on the same page."

Rush agreed, adding that "We have a larger and more loyal audience than any service of its type…and now [with the acquisition], we're strategically positioned within the larger context of open source component reuse."

Levin assured those loyal developers that the popular online search site will remain free. Black Duck will add to the existing Koders search database with code and metadata from its own database. The Black Duck KnowledgeBase of open source and third-party code comprises more than 520 million code files, representing many billions of lines of code.

IDC analyst Melinda Ballou liked the combination of capabilities.

"Open source becomes a key resource as organizations become increasingly constrained financially given a difficult economy," she said. "Yet this resource must be managed and governed well. Combining an effective search engine with management capabilities to validate code quality, security and compliance helps to support effective open source usage, to supplement internal and outsourced development."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].