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A Process for Creating an Industry Catalog of Software Products Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016241D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21

Publishing Venue



A proposed solution is disclosed to introduce a process for registering in a common software catalog the information provided by software vendors to allow the identification of their products on a computer system. The catalog could be used as a knowledge base by different software discovery tools, which could rely on the information registered for a product to detect its usage and installation on one or more computer systems. Many tools exist today for the purpose of inventorying the software products that are installed on one or more computer systems. Usually, these tools have the common capability of scanning the computer hard drives, looking for any information that can be used to detect the products that are installed on the system. In order to identify the installed products in a reliable way, an inventory tool requires the existence of a product catalog, which must contain for each software product the low-level information to be found on the scanned system to detect its installation. Other tools provide the additional capability to monitor the usage of software products, adding to this general framework the ability to collect information about “who used what when” on one or more computer systems. Some of these tools are able to provide just the cumulative number of runs for each product, while other tools are able to provide a detailed list of concurrent sessions and users for a selected point in time, or to do any other historical reporting and data analysis. Anyway, any accurate inventory or metering tool needs a knowledge base of product information to detect the usage and installation of one or more software products, no matter what kind of data is collected as a result of the product detection. For this reason, these tools generally use a proprietary knowledge base of software products, which can be clearly different for different tools, and which must be regularly updated with correct and useful information. The proposed idea is to create only one single knowledge base of software products, including all the information that may be required by a software inventory or metering tool to detect each product on a target machine and extract any useful information. The knowledge base (or catalog) of software products should contain for each registered product both the low-level information that is needed by a software discovery tool to detect the product on the target system, and the high-level information that must be shown in software reports. As a general description of the software catalog, the concepts of component and module can be introduced. A module is a unit of information that can be read from the system, and considered as a possible indication of the existence of a software product. Some modules may be used to detect the installation of a product when scanning a hard drive, while other modules may be used to detect the product usage at launch time, and there may be modules that could be used in both cases. However, detecting one single module may not be sufficient to state that a product is installed or used on a computer system, since the detection of multiple modules may be required for this purpose. For this reason, more than one module can be tied to the same component , which can be a software product, a suite of products or a product feature. 1