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31 May 2012, 16:31

Linux Foundation introduces bar code tracker for FOSS licences

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FOSS Barcode Tracker logo

A new effort from the Linux Foundation is designed to help companies track free and open source software deployed in their organisation or being used to construct other products. The FOSS Bar Code Tracker aims to give an overview of version numbers and products included in software stacks and make licence compliance easier. "Automating this process will result in gains for FOSS developers, manufacturers embedding FOSS in their products, and users who want to get the most value from the products they buy" said the Software Freedom Law Center's executive director Eben Moglen.

The bar codes are based on the Foundation's SPDX registry, which aims to provide a standardised way to store licence information for open source software products. The FOSS Bar Code Tracker lets administrators create a customised QR code for each product.

This QR code can include names of components, version numbers of included software, licence information and download links to the source code among other information. Product development teams can use this to track the different licences they need to comply with for each product they are working on. The Linux Foundation hopes that an easy-to-use tool will reduce the amount of effort it takes to comply with open source licenses. The tool can create traditional 1D bar codes as well as QR codes and includes an interface to manage existing codes.

More information on the FOSS Bar Code Tracker is available from the Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Program pages. The source code for the program is available from GitHub and is licensed under the MIT License.


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