Though the final release of the open source GPL version 3 license is still
likely several months away, software vendors are already ramping up their
efforts to help track violations.
While the new license is intended to help extend and protect software
freedom, there are at least two software vendors that are likely to profit
from GPL version 3.
Both Black Duck Software and Palamida produce software that is used to identify potential license issues and both are
claiming that they’ll be ready whenever GPL version 3 is officially
“I think the growing awareness in the change for the most commonly used open
source license represents an opportunity for us and anyone in our space,”
Palamida CEO Mark Tolliver told internetnews.com.
The new GPL version 3 license is the first update to the open source license in 15 years and introduces a number of new provisions for DRM (Digital Rights Management), patents and networked (Software as a Service) uses. The third
draft of the GPL version 3 was released at the end of March with a final
release expected later this year.
Black Duck Software has already announced that its ProtextIP software will
be ready to handle GPL version 3.
“If users are looking at their code base and analyzing their code base they
can compare it against multiple versions of GPL which are available through
the knowledge base,” Black Duck CEO Doug Levin told internetnews.com.
Don’t expect ProtextIP to tell you if you’ve got patent or DRM violations
though. The software isn’t a substitute for doing due diligence. What Black Duck does is identify the code against a
license so that companies can identify items in their code.
“We don’t do code analysis and find patentable materials,” Levin said.
“However, what do is we do scan code looking for open source and other types
of code that would trigger an issue related to GPL 2 or 3 and identify
sections that may be relevant.”
When such issues are identified in the code, Black Duck’s software then
highlights the section that would then lead the user to make a decision
about use. The user would still be well advised to do a proper patent search
and otherwise engage their legal counsel.
“We just flag license violations, attributions that are missing, code that
is unidentified or we can associate with one project or another,” Levin
Levin noted that Black Duck will be ready when GPL version 3 is actually
“As soon as the license is final we will add it to our knowledge base and
customers will have it days after the availability of 3.0,” Levin said.
Black Duck won’t be alone in being ready for GPL version 3; rival Palamida will be ready too. Palamida’s Tolliver said that his firm already has three solutions capable of supporting the new license when it’s released.