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Weekend Project: Get to Know Your Source Code with FOSSology

Nov 09, 2010, 23:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nathan Willis)

"If you work with open source software of any kind — whether at work or as a volunteer — then you understand the importance of license compliance and keeping track of copyright ownership. But as a project grows, those tasks can get tricky, even when everyone is on the same page. That is exactly the problem that led Hewlett Packard (HP) to create FOSSology, an open source tool you can use to analyze a source code tree for this type of metadata and more. This weekend, why not set it up and dig into your source code — you might be surprised at what you find.

"FOSSology was originally built as an internal tool at HP, to help engineers follow the large company's IT governance policies when working with open source software written elsewhere. Even if your company or project isn't as big as HP, any time you blend code from different authors or want to borrow a routine from another open source project, it can get tricky to maintain all the rules. Certain licenses are compatible to combine in one executable, while others need to be separate processes. If you customize an open source application for internal use, you may also need to keep track of authorship — even more so if you send patches upstream."

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