WhiteSource Software aims to bring open-source license management throughout the development life cycle with its Software-as-a-Service product, launched as a public beta last week.

“We focus on the area between the Excel sheet [of open-source libraries used in software projects] and complex scanners,” said Rami Sass, cofounder and CEO of WhiteSource Software.

WhiteSource is a “simple, cloud-based solution to manage open-source products from start of development to maintenance of deployed objects,” he said. This tool not only helps developers and operations technicians stay on top of the libraries included in software projects, it also allows venture-capital firms, angel investors and original equipment manufacturers to see which open-source components are in a given portfolio.

The service is based on a freemium model, according to Sass. The tool includes a main dashboard separated into several sections: inventory, process management and reporting. The inventory shows all the libraries associated with a particular project and auto-generates the dependencies for individual components; the process management section helps automate the governance around what open-source libraries are allowed in individual companies and products by making sure the commit process is passed through an assigned hierarchy; the reporting dashboard shows when updates to different open-source components are available; and, according to Sass, increases transparency for all team members.

Ron Rymon, executive chairman and the second of the company’s three founders (the third being Azi Cohen, who heads up WhiteSource’s United States office), said alerts about updates to the open-source libraries are generated automatically based on WhiteSource’s integration with the Apache Maven build project and about 20 other libraries. This, Rymon said, gives WhiteSource a knowledge base of different open-source components.

WhiteSource is continually connected to these databases around the clock, according to Rymon, to transfer information quickly. Since it is a SaaS solution, he said new users can get their current projects installed (with an accurate reporting of what needs to be updated and what is included) in about five to 10 minutes.

As of right now, Sass said WhiteSource is working on more plug-ins for continuous integration tools like Hudson/Jenkins, and may eventually incorporate the tool into application life-cycle management solutions based on customers’ requests.