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It might sound like a heavy metal band but NovaForge is actually European IT company Bull's internally-developed solution to manage distributed software development – and it’s now available to customers. As the self-styled 'architect of an open world', Bull has brought together a set of tried-and-tested open source tools under the umbrella of NovaForge to create what it sees as an industrial-strength development and project management tool.

"We developed it internally for managing our distributed development projects across our European service centres. We needed to share code and information on projects and manage them more effectively," says Boris Auché, director of the open source and Linux solutions group at Bull.

NovaForge solves two pressing problems for distributed medium-to-large scale development projects, according to Auché. First it provides a standard tool kit for developers and, second, it gives project managers tools to keep track of progress and measure productivity.

"We found when we started a new project, individual developers would download their own set of tools and this often led to incompatibilities. With NovaForge we can equip all developers with the same tools - all properly tagged and certified. This cuts the set-up time for new projects and makes sure you don't run into incompatibility problems halfway through the project."

NovaForge stores important project data such as version control data and test results in a central repository which managers can use to monitor progress. It is aimed at distributed development projects of 1000 man/days-plus and Bull offers a three-step scale of prices. The open source tools are, of course, free and costs are to cover the tool integration and admin software. The basic package covers training and installation of the standard version, step two allows for substitute products in the NovaForge product set and step three includes extra features such as time-billing software.

Bull can install NovaForge at the user site or provide an on-demand, pay-as-you go service out of its European service centre. ®

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