Software audit for acquisition due diligence with nexB

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nexB provides products and services for software component management and license compliance. We have unique expertise in complex embedded devices and large server-based or appliance-based software …

nexB provides products and services for software component management and license compliance. We have unique expertise in complex embedded devices and large server-based or appliance-based software products.
We help companies determining what is in their software or in software provided by their suppliers. For more information, please visit

More in: Business , Technology
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  • 1. Software Provenance Analysis - Acquisition Due Diligence © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 2. Agenda • About nexB – What nexB does – Our experience • Software Audit: M&A – License Violation Risks & Recent Audit Issues – Software Audit Process – Software Audit Tools • Additional Information – Why nexB? – Contact us – Lessons Learned © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 3. About nexB What nexB does • Enable component-based software development – Software provenance analysis services – Software asset management tools © 2014 nexB Inc. • Software audit services – Acquisitions – Software product releases • Expertise in all software IP• Active OSS developers
  • 4. About nexB Our experience is our difference • Recognized by the buyers and target companies as: – experts in software origin analysis – a fair and trusted intermediary • We identifies issues along with practical remediation steps • 350+ software audit projects completed to-date © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 5. Software audit: M&A License Violation Risks © 2014 nexB Inc. source code available source with limitations (Proprietary) Copyleft FOSS Attribution Binary-only (Proprietary) Free Software Freeware / Shareware many Java libraries Microsoft shared source Sun SCSL GNU GPL GNU LGPL MPL CDDL BSD MIT EPLApache Adobe Reader
  • 6. Software audit: M&A Recent Audit Issue Examples • Dependency Issue “Workarounds” • License violation © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 7. Software audit: M&A Emerging Audit Issue Examples • Cloud computing and Dual Licensing • Personal Devices and Application store markets © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 8. Software audit: M&A Software Audit Process © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 9. Software audit: M&A Software Analysis Scope © 2014 nexB Inc. Original Code Commercial Code Open Source Code
  • 10. Software audit: M&A Software Analysis Deliverables • Complete inventory of OSS and third-party components in Development codebase(s) • Bill of materials for Deployed product components • Specific Action items and recommended actions for resolution that can be factored into the deal terms – Including possible exposure for older product versions – Detailed analysis for copyleft “contamination” • Checklist of commercial components as input to due diligence for contract review • Analysis of how much code is original versus borrowed (OSS) or purchased (Commercial) © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 11. Software audit: M&A Preparation – 1 week (1/2) • Establish NDA with seller – Two-way or three-way • Scope audit effort – Audit profile (questionnaire) – Size of code base - # files and lines of source code – Disclosure of known third-party and open source software – Onsite or remote access to the code • Prepare/agree quote – always fixed fee, no surprises • Schedule project © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 12. Software audit: M&A Preparation (2/2) è Many targets are anxious about the process – General level of anxiety is inversely proportional to prior M&A experience of executives – We do some hand holding to make them feel comfortable – Assure seller that they review all findings first so no surprises – Explain the process and tools to the seller © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 13. Software audit: M&A License & Origin Analysis – 2 weeks (1/2) Analysis Activities • Discovery: scan files for license, copyright and other origin clues • Identification: match target code to reference code repository for origin and license detection (based on digital “fingerprints”) • Map Deployed code to Development code to: – Validate that we have a complete Development codebase – Filter issues based on the effective Deployed/Distributed code • Analyze software interaction and dependency patterns for copyleft-licensed © 2014 nexB Inc. components as needed • Additional domain-specific investigations typically for embedded devices and applications of media codecs
  • 14. Software audit: M&A License & Origin Analysis (2/2) Results • Software Inventory and Bill(s) of Materials • Draft Action items & recommendations © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 15. Software audit: M&A Review & Report – 1 week (1/2) Activities • Draft findings review with product team – Ask product team to respond to each Action item © 2014 nexB Inc. • Accept recommended solution or propose another approach • Acknowledge & investigate • Not a request to fix anything during the audit – Incorporate feedback and answers from product team into the Software BOM and Report – We may “agree to disagree” – e.g. we then present two points of view: ours and the seller’s. • Complete final report – Second review cycle with product team – Release the report – Conference call with buyer to present findings & answer questions
  • 16. Software audit: M&A Review & Report (2/2) Results • Final Software Inventory / BOM spreadsheets • Final Report - narrative with executive summary, project data and summary of the Action items and Responses © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 17. Software audit: M&A Software Audit Tools • nexB typically uses a combination of tools for a software audit – Our own DejaCode™ toolkit is the primary tool – Other tools used as needed or as licensed by a customer (open source or commercial) • Multiple layers of analysis – Discovery: direct scan for license and copyright notices – Identification: component matching for open source and publicly available third-party components (freeware/proprietary) – Analysis of source code and pre-built libraries (binary) – Interaction and dependency analysis as needed • Review and validation by software experts • All require expert humans to interpret the results! © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 18. Additional Information Why nexB (1/2) 100% of our customers are repeat customers and references We have a balanced approach – Automated code analysis AND analysis by software experts – Direct consultation with engineering, management and legal teams – Concrete Action items with recommended nexB action resolution and seller Responses © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 19. Additional Information Why nexB (2/2) • Trusted third party – Mitigates confidentiality concerns of a seller company – Maintains proper segregation of information during acquisition negotiations – Enables objective analysis with appropriate consideration of feedback from all parties © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 20. Additional Information Contact us Contact person: Pierre Lapointe, Customer Care Manager + 1 415 287-7643 More information: © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 21. Additional Information Lessons Learned – Acquisitions (1/2) • Schedule is always a major issue • Initiate a software audit early because – Seller company will probably not have done this before – Negotiation of an NDA takes longer than you expect – Negotiation of access to artifacts and people takes longer than you think • The review of findings and recommendations may require several iterations with target company – Get answers for open issues – Get agreement about remediation strategies – Get agreement that report is objective and reasonable © 2014 nexB Inc.
  • 22. Additional Information Lessons Learned – Acquisitions (2/2) • Identify the “crown jewels” and key platforms of the seller technology – Concentrate the audit on the most important parts – For products with multiple operating system versions, focus on the most important platforms • Some issues can be specific to the open source policies of the Buyer – For instance tolerance for certain version of open source licenses or proprietary Linux drivers varies among companies – We apply Buyer company policies if available, – Otherwise we apply “conservative” community standards – Exceptional cases may require additional discussion with legal and and business teams to evaluate the risks © 2014 nexB Inc.