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Analyse open source code with FOSSology

By   |  January 22, 2008

HP recently launched the FOSSology project to analyse open source software to determine what licences the different pieces of code fall under. The idea behind this is that while a piece of software may fall under a certain licence, such as the GPL, snippets of the underlying code can potentially fall under other licences.

Through opening the project to the open source community, HP hopes to build an active community of contributors to help add functionality to make it a valuable data-mining tool for analysing software.

HP said the following of the FOSSology project:

Rather than simply collecting a project’s advertised license (as given at their website or in their documentation), this tool needed to analyze all of the source code for a given project and intelligently report all of the licenses being used, based on the license declarations and tell-tale phrases that identify software licensing.

Thus was born FOSSology – ‘The study of FOSS.’ As development progressed, we quickly realized that the analysis of open source licensing was only one application of what was quickly becoming a valuable general-purpose software data mining framework.

The FOSSology tools are intended to help IT companies adopt open source software with confidence and to determine what open source software is already being implemented. For open source developers and distributors FOSSology is intended to “build a thorough licensing picture of the projects and packages they produce”.

Additional developments for the future include the ability to find and track code re-use, security alerts, bug fixes and patches, project information and usage statistics of open source software code.

For more information on the project and how to become involved, read the FAQ.

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