Palamida CEO Talks Open-Source Opportunities

Q&A: The maker of code sleuthing technology for open-source applications sees the market growing swiftly as more enterprises adopt open-source technology.

Palamida has been in the business of helping customers weed through their code as they adopt open-source solutions. Mark Tolliver, CEO of Palamida, a maker of intellectual property management and compliance products and services, spoke with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft about his role at the company, the challenges of helping companies move to open source, a new round of venture funding and more.

You joined the company about a year ago. How has the market changed in the last year?

Weve seen open-source contributions, open-source use and open-source business models continue to be an important, if not the dominant theme in the software industry. All of which has made the question, "Whats in your code?" more relevant and higher in priority than a year ago.

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Also, the number of software mergers and acquisitions has continued to climb, which is a direct driver of our business as we assist with due diligence.

Weve gone from needing to introduce and educate people about software IP management and compliance, to the early stages of a new category of application for managing the new software supply chain.

What are your plans for this round of funding?

Well continue to expand our products and services. This means even broader and deeper coverage in our compliance library of open-source code, and continuing our innovation and leadership in detection technologies. Weve led with binary as well as source detection, with detection based on Java name spaces, and intelligent copyright search. There are a number of new areas where we believe we can make detection more accurate as well as more automated. Well also be adding to our services team to keep up with growing demand in this area.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Palamidas choice of former Sun executive Mark Tolliver as CEO.

Are enterprises becoming more accepting of open-source software? Are they coming up with more formal systems to manage what comes into their code bases from outside the enterprise?

Yes, and yes. A 2005 survey showed 74 percent of companies surveyed already use or plan to use open source. My bet would be that this will be 85 percent or greater during 2006, as businesses see the benefit from use of some elements of open source within their environment.

So open source has created a new process for acquisition and use of software—one that will need oversight and controls like any other important business process. Thats where we come in. Most companies start with new code as it comes in through multi-source contracts, or M&A [mergers and acquisitions]. But they quickly expand to the code they generate internally.

Youve named some pretty big customers in this release. Can you tell us more about them?

As you can imagine, our customers use our products and services in important areas which they wish to keep confidential, so I cant say more than that we obviously are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with them.

Do your products come into play when companies are trying to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and other new regulations?

The primary governance processes that our customers are responding to today are internal. That said, there are provisions of SarbOx that deal with demonstrating control over internal business processes and there is some obvious, although early, connection to the "Whats in your code" question.

It would not surprise me to see the idea of transparency as currently applied to financial statements extended to software. In other words, to require disclosure of software content as part of purchasing cycles. We have proposed an "IP Ingredients" report as an example of how such information might be delivered.

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