About OSS Discovery

OSS Discovery is an open source tool that finds embedded and installed open source software. It can be used to inventory open source software across an enterprise or on a single computer. OSS Discovery also allows individuals and companies to easily contribute data about open source software usage to The Open Source Census.

Capabilities of OSS Discovery include:

Background & History

Most enterprises use open source software in many areas of their business. However, open source typically bypasses traditional procurement processes, making it difficult for companies to accurately inventory their open source usage. OSS Discovery was created to help solve this problem by enabling enterprises to easily create an inventory of installed open source software. This inventory allows enterprises to:

OpenLogic originally released OSS Discovery in June 2007 as a free tool under the name OpenLogic Discovery. The original version was delivered with fingerprints for over 1000 open source packages. At the time, the fingerprints were focused primarily in Java-based packages, and used MD5 hashes to identify the files.

We knew that to expand the number of open source packages we could find, we would need to expand the types of fingerprint rules used to include a wider variety of criteria – file names, file contents, directory structures, etc. We also wanted to improve scalability and performance in order to minimize both scan time and machine resources used.

Turning to Open Source

From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to open source OSS Discovery, but we also knew that we needed to re-architect the software before we could inivite a community to participate in development.

Starting in August of 2007, we began to re-write OSS Discovery using Ruby. We developed a design based on fingerprint rules that optimized the performance and accuracy of the scans. We added a pluggable architecture to allow community members to add fingerprints for additional open source packages.

In December of 2007, we renamed the product and released the Alpha version of OSS Discovery 2.0 under the GNU Affero GPLv3 open source license.

The Open Source Census

OSS Discovery is a key component of The Open Source Census. The Open Source Census is a global, collaborative project to collect and share quantitative data on the use of open source software in the enterprise. In short, that just means we want to count how many enterprise installations there are in the world for each open source package.

OSS Discovery includes an option to anonymously contribute scan results to The Open Source Census. The data contributed to The Open Source Census is used to promote the deployment of open source software – we know that if we can show companies how much open source they (and their peers) are already using, they will feel comfortable using more. Scan contributors can also see summarized results for their scans and benchmark their open source usage.

For lots more information, visit The Open Source Census site at www.osscensus.org.

Building the Fingerprint Library

OSS Discovery 2.0 is based on the new Ruby code and pluggable architecture. The fingerprint library currently includes rules for 30 of the top open source packages as well as rules to find the Maven-built versions of about 800 packages.

We are currently working with the community to vastly expand that library. Community members can contribute fingerprint rules for their projects. This is critical so that your project can get counted in The Open Source Census. See How To Contribute Fingerprints for more information.

Who is OpenLogic?

OpenLogic is an open source solution provider dedicated to enabling large enterprises to use more open source software. Large enterprises already use a wide range of open source packages, but in order to accelerate this adoption they are looking for help with selection, certification, support, and governance of open source solutions. OpenLogic provides open source subscriptions and support services for hundreds of open source software packages along with governance tools to streamline the uptake of open source. OpenLogic offers free access to its certified library and knowledgebase on OpenLogic Exchange (OLEX).

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