Apres moi, le deluge of open-source and in-house software

Code, code, everywhere, but not a line to implement...unless you can find it.

Louis XV couldn't have said it better. Open source compounds a problem that enterprise IT already had: A veritable flood of code. As Matt Graney, senior director of product management, Krugle, noted to me in an email on the eve of Krugle's release of its next-generation search appliance, developers may find themselves drowning in too much of a good thing:

I've said in a comment elsewhere that in many respects, we're approaching a point where developers won't really distinguish between FOSS [free and open-source software] and in-house, proprietary code because in the end it's just code that they didn't write. And that means that they will have all the same headaches in learning the code, understanding how to integrate with it...and even discovering that it exists in the first place. In fact, open source exacerbates the problem because...

...it's often being used as a replacement for existing proprietary components, which means there's an additional need to understand the impact of significant refactoring.

Not to conflate too many old phrases, but this smacks of Coleridge's famous lines from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (cue Iron Maiden): "Water, water everywhere...but not a drop to drink." It's great that developers have so much code from which to choose...but bad if they can't easily find it and put it to good use.

This is one reason that Krugle's release of its OpenAPI interface is also important. Developer networks (like IBM's developerWorks, CollabNet, SourceForge.net, and Yahoo!'s Developer Network) can embed Krugle code search to give their user communities access to the same features available to Krugle enterprise customers. In other words, to make it easier to find and refactor code, including open-source code.

Increasingly, there's no shortage of open-source software. The problem is finding the right open-source software (or proprietary, in-house software) at the appropriate time. Krugle enables this and just made it even easier.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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