The open-source landscape can be tricky to navigate with the different projects, licenses, and compliance requirements. The Linux Foundation and Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) are announcing new resources to simplify free and open-source software license identification and compliance.
“We must work more on helping those who want to be part of the free and open-source software community understand the praxis and licenses used,” said Matthias Kirschner, president of the FSFE. “The resources now made available contribute to making it easier for companies to rely on and develop free and open-source software. Licensing compliance is just the first step on a journey towards using free and open source software, but it’s often a steep learning curve, and we know these resources will contribute to enabling more companies to take the step into the community.”
The recently released resources are: A new free online book, the open-source release of cregit, and the 3.1 release of FOSSology.
The book, Practical GPL Compliance: A guide for startups, small businesses, and engineers, is a handbook for working with software that contain GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2) code. It provides information on issues and commonly made errors with the GNU license, and includes checklists, flowcharts, key approaches, and best practices. It is particularly relevant for those working on drones, IoT and automotive devices, according to the announcement.
Cregit is a Linux Foundation project designed to provide insight into source code file changes and history. It provides tools that analyze and visualize the evolution of code in git repositories. The latest release features support for C, C++ and Java, but has the ability to extend to other languages.
FOSSology is an open-source license compliance solution and toolkit. It allows users to run license, copyright and export control scans from the command line as well as provide a compliance workflow. The latest version, 3.1, features user interface improvements, new Dockerfile, support for sharing FOSSology info with other programs, and generation of Debian copyright files.
“We feel it’s important to help people using Linux in their products understand the licenses associated with the code they are using, who has contributed to the code and what users need to do to comply with the license the authors have selected,” said Mike Dolan, vice president of strategic programs for The Linux Foundation.