Black Duck Introduces Android Fast Start Program

Black Duck Software announces a new Android Fast Start program to help developers get started with development projects for the hot Android open-source mobile development platform.

As the Google Android platform has become red hot for developers, Black Duck Software has launched an Android Fast Start program, a bundled software and service offering designed to help Android developers get started with Android development.

Black Duck officials said Android Fast Start helps to automate and ensure compliance and simplify the operational challenges of managing Android projects. Android Fast Start saves months of ramp-up time, provides ongoing cost and time savings with timely updates for future Android releases, and enables development organizations to ship with confidence they are in compliance with company policies and legal obligations, Black Duck said.

"Android has rapidly become a leading platform for mobile innovation by offering developers rich, varied and flexible components. Innovation is made possible by rapid enhancements and significant releases, which require management and control," said Bill McQuaide, executive vice president of products and strategy at Black Duck. "We believe Android Fast Start is an essential tool for developers in the Android device ecosystem who want to ramp up quickly while reducing the operational and compliance challenges related to developing for this platform."

McQuaide explains that Android is a complex open-source project made up of more than 165 components, 80,000 files and 2GB of code under 19 different licenses. The code base evolves rapidly, with many developers and companies contributing on a regular basis. Android Fast Start provides visibility and control of Android, simplifies change management and ensures and automates compliance.

Black Duck Android Fast Start includes a custom configured version of the Black Duck Suite, the company's platform for management and governance of open-source software in a multisource development process, populated with detailed Android component information. In addition, customers also receive expert "Android-Ready" Professional Services for rapid deployment, integration and configuration of the solution in their environment, including build-system integration and customized workflows.

Benefits of Android Fast Start include enabling development teams to:

"??Ç Instantly implement an "out-of-the-box" management and compliance platform, prepopulated with Android, saving months of ramp-up time.??Ç Easily assimilate changes in frequent releases of Android (occurring roughly every three months).??Ç Increase the efficiency of supply-chain logistics by providing ecosystem partners with detailed reports on the composition of Android-based software.??Ç Ship with confidence by simplifying and automating the operational and compliance challenges of using an open source platform with over 165 components and 19 licenses, not all OSI-approved."

Android is growing in popularity as a mobile development platform; it captured 55 percent of new FOSS mobile projects in 2010, according to a recent Black Duck study. For more details on Android Fast Start, visit

The Black Duck study of trends in mobile open-source development platform choices show Android leading the pack but Apple iOS still in the game.

Analyzing data from the almost 9,000 mobile free and open-source software projects contained in the Black Duck KnowledgeBase, Black Duck found that of 3,800 new mobile projects started in 2010, the open-source Android leads as the platform of choice with 55 percent of the total. Apple's iOS is a close second with 39 percent, and other platforms had a 2 percent or lower share of new projects. While Android is open, iOS is not, indicating that FOSS developers support the most popular platforms, regardless of their openness. Beyond the two leading platforms, Windows, Palm and Symbian have two percent or less of new projects and MeeGo has only a handful, Black Duck said.

The number of FOSS mobile projects started in 2010 doubled from the previous year. The increase is attributable to the increased popularity of FOSS for mobile and the explosion of FOSS projects for mobile apps and games (particularly in Android, but for iOS as well.)

"Mobile software has the full and focused attention of commercial and FOSS development communities," said Peter Vescuso, another executive vice president at Black Duck, in a statement. "As mobile apps displace desktop applications and mobile devices displace laptops and desktops we expect to see broad commercial developer interest in the top mobile development platforms, as well as consolidation in the number of platforms that draw developer support."

Moreover, the Black duck study showed that not all new FOSS mobile projects are developed for a specific platform, and some, but not all, are written for multiple platforms. While many mobile projects have large code bases (such as Android), a distinct trend in the 2010 results was the growth of apps, particularly smaller custom applications. Examples include a number of transit-related (bus, train) projects from around the world (Sri Lanka, Trondheim Norway, Germany, Spanish Railways), and the US (Seattle, Lafayette Louisiana, Massachusetts (MassRoute)). In addition, projects created for single events are on the increase, e.g. an application in support of an Agile Development conference in Italy These and other small projects are made possible by the rapid development environments of top mobile platforms.

The Black Duck study also indicated that many of 2010's new mobile projects did not declare a license. Of those that did, the most popular were the GPL (all versions), MIT, Apache, BSD and Microsoft.

"Black Duck's latest metrics concerning open-source traction in mobile development confirm the importance of market opportunity for developer traction," said Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst at RedMonk, in a statement. "In concentrating on the Android and iOS platforms, developers are advantaging two differentiated platforms. While Android may be open source and iOS closed, they are both volume platforms, which indicates that developer pragmatism is alive and well."