Black Duck Buys Ohloh.net: One-Stop Dev Portal Coming

Mashing up Ohloh.net and Koders.com

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Black Duck Software announced this morning that they have acquired the Ohloh.net property from Geeknet.

Sure, I know what you're thinking: whosiwhatsitnow?

At least, that's what I was thinking when I got the news last week from the folks at Black Duck. My brain locked up a bit because it wasn't clear to me what the connection would be for a company that manages a pretty good set of governance and compliance tools and a company that has created a decent professional and social connection portal for developers.

But there it was, in full slideshow glory: they were serious about doing it.

The connection, though, wasn't too hard for CEO Tim Yeaton to make. By combining the resources of Ohloh.net with Black Duck's Koders.com site, the new Ohloh.net (they're keeping the name) will provide users with a massive central portal for professional, reference, and social needs.

Yeaton walked me through how Black Duck came to this point of acquiring Ohloh.net. Having made significant in-roads into the enterprise market with their compliance and governance data solutions, Yeaton explained, Black Duck was getting a lot of feedback for expanding their services.

"We were hearing 'What you do is equally useful to individual developers, and would make us more productive'," Yeaton related. So the folks at Black Duck started thinking about how they would evolve Koders.com, already a useful code snippet search site, to accommodate individual developers and smaller shops.

At the same time, they were also hearing developers tell them that they used both Koders.com and Ohloh.net frequently. Apparently, the light bulb must have clicked on for someone at Black Duck, and they started talking to Geeknet.

No details of the acquisition were given (naturally), though I could venture a guess. Whatever the final terms, this could be a good fit now that I think it through.

The plan, according to Yeaton, is to enhance the current Ohloh.net site and then bring the two sites together some time in the first half of 2011. The new combined site will have features from Ohloh.net, Koders.com, and data from Black Duck's knowledge base. Having a one-stop FOSS developer portal is never a bad thing, and a revamped and rebranded Koders.com/Ohloh.net mashup would certainly provide a lot of service to the developer community.

Of course, whether this will make money is anyone's guess. Black Duck has done pretty well, it seems, in their particular niche, but Ohloh.net was just bought by Geeknet in May 2009 for $2.6 million. In just 17 month's time, Geeknet turns right around and sells it. You can't help but wonder what's going on with Geeknet, particularly in light of its transferring the Linux.com property to the Linux Foundation in 2008.

One could argue that Geeknet is trying to concentrate on its media and retail properties (Slashdot and ThinkGeek) with the sale of Ohloh.net, but the sale of Linux.com seems to belie that notion. Plus, where does that leave SourceForge and freshmeat? In its heyday, Geeknet (and VA Software before it) spanned a broad range of web and software properties in the open source community.

I will be interested to see what direction they go next now that Ohloh.net has a new home.

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