Executive Summary

The Challenge

  • To ensure the open source software redistributed in ToolBox Solution’s Visulox product is accurately licensed 
  • To mitigate legal risk and demonstrate compliance and open source license assurance to customers

The Solution

  • ActiveTcl OEM Edition from ActiveState, a turn-key licensing solution for fail-safe redistribution of ActiveTcl dynamic language distribution in enterprise products

The Result

  • Minimize legal risk exposure
  • Gain peace of mind with automatic Tcl redistribution rights
  • Save time and headache of working through complex open source licensing requirements
  • Demonstrate to customers that they are compliant and trustworthy


ToolBox Solution Quells Compliance Concerns and Mitigates Legal Risks with ActiveTcl OEM Edition

ToolBox Solution is a leader in the innovative area of software-based videography. Without making server-side modifications, TBS Visulox records and logs precisely who is doing what maintenance activities in a remote IT data center.

CTO Tillman A. Basien explains the problem this way: "When you hand over your car keys to a mechanic, you give him permission to access your car. But, once he has the keys you don't really know what he does. He might just fix the gasket. But, he might also snoop in the glove compartment and read private papers that you haven’t given him permission to access. When you pick up your car at the end of the day, you don’t really know what happened.”

In the telecom industry, offshore companies do an increasing amount of remote data center system admin maintenance. To comply with Sarbanes Oxley, CobiT and other IT privacy regulations, telcos must be able to document exactly what data is accessed and by whom. With Visulox videography technology, organizations can record and play back evidence of all data interactions.

Powered by ActiveState

ToolBox Solution is a small company, so it wisely builds on existing, proven technologies to deliver its own solutions. For instance, Visulox is based on Oracle Secure Global Desktop (OSGD), a popular system administration and IT management platform. ToolBox Solution enhances OSGD with a set of access control tools that deliver sophisticated usage activity reporting. Similarly, Basien’s team embeds ActiveState technology in its products.

Visulox is powered, in part, by the Tcl open source dynamic language. Tcl (Tool Command Language) is a powerful dynamic programming language used frequently for web and desktop applications, networking, administration and testing. Tcl is a mature open source language, ideal for cross platform development. Basien says Tcl was a natural fit for Visulox development. He’s worked with the open source language since it first appeared in the 90’s and has been consistently happy with the results, even on large-scale projects, like building system integration tools for the German Railway.

“Tcl does a very good job of building a necessary bridge between the user and the system,” said Basien. In Visulox, it’s used to create user graphical interfaces and to easily make complicated system calls.

Visulox uses ActiveState’s ActiveTcl language distribution. ActiveTcl is the industry-standard Tcl distribution. It’s a complete, ready-to-install commercial grade distribution that works with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X plus Solaris, AIX and HP-UX for ActiveTcl Business, Enterpriseand OEM editions so users can take advantage of the platform that powers their business.

“We can’t understate how key ActiveTcl is to our product. Without it, the product simply wouldn’t run,” he says. “That’s why our install splash screen says, ‘Powered by ActiveState’.”

For Basien’s team, there’s no alternative to the ActiveTcl distribution. He’s been using it for years and is entirely satisfied with its quality. “I’ve never had a thought of changing to another distribution of Tcl. There’s no alternative for us and certainly no reason to change.”

One of the reasons ActiveTcl works so well for Visulox is because it runs on key platforms including: Solaris Sparc/x86, RedHat and Novell. If the development team used the Tcl code built-in to these four platforms instead of ActiveTcl, they’d have to test each platform separately. Thanks to ActiveTcl cross-platform support, testing time is reduced by up to 75% helping Basien’s team bring products to market more quickly.  

With help from ActiveState’s Tcl support team, Toolbox Solution ensures it gets the very best return on its Tcl investment. From code troubleshooting to module usage advice, ActiveState experts help Toolbox Solution developers save time, write quality code and maximize Visulox performance speed.

Complete Open Source License Compliance

ToolBox Solution also trusts ActiveState for worry-free redistribution of Tcl to its customers. When open source languages are embedded and then distributed in enterprise products, it’s essential that vendors license them correctly. While there’s rarely a fee associated with open source software licensing, licenses often require vendors to include the open source code in product distribution. Ignoring or neglecting open source licensing requirements can result in costly and embarrassing legal battles and—even worse—lost customer trust.

ActiveTcl OEM Edition by ActiveState provides turn-key redistribution rights that guarantee assurance and mitigate any legal risks for software and hardware vendors redistributing their own enterprise applications with dynamic languages, like Tcl.

“We’re using the OEM Edition from ActiveState because we must be compliant,” said Basien. “With OEM licensing firmly in place, I have no headaches. Plus, I’m confident that open source redistribution licensing is covered.”

Compliancy is especially important for ToolBox Solution. Visulox’s chief deliverable is providing a way for customers to ensure privacy compliance. As such, ToolBox Solution must be compliant in its own business. With ActiveTcl OEM Edition, licensing and redistribution rights are professionally packaged which, Basien says, gives their customers confidence that ToolBox Solution runs a transparent, trustworthy and responsible business.