The Linux Foundation Tries To Help With Software Licensing
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 10 August 2010 at 10:56 AM EDT. 3 Comments
The Linux Foundation's LinuxCon is taking place this week in Boston and they have used this conference for making a few announcements, such as Qualcomm joining the foundation as a platinum member (even though they are not really open-source friendly) and rolling-out the Open Compliance Program. The Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Program is designed to be "a comprehensive initiative that includes tools, training, a standard format to report software licensing information, consulting and a self-assessment checklist that will help companies comply with open source licenses, increasing adoption of open source and decreasing legal FUD present in the marketplace."

Adobe, AMD, Google, Nokia, and Novell are among the companies taking part in this initiative that involves some tools and training information to ensure companies meet their open-source license obligations. The Linux Foundation's elements of this program are training and education, tools, a self-assessment checklist, the SPDX standard and work-group, a compliance directory and rapid alert system, and the open-source community.

The dependency checker tool identifies code at the dynamic and static link level for ensuring code dependencies of a company's work is compliant with their intended license and there is a license policy framework for identifying combinations of licenses and linkage methods that are incompatible. Another one of these Open Compliance Program tools is the "Bill of Material Difference Checker" with the BOM program reporting changed source-code within open-source components, but development of this program won't begin until late 2010. The third and final tool at this point is "The Code Janitor" and it provides linguistic review capabilities to try to make sure there are no code comments within released source-code about future products, product code-names, mentions of competitors, or potentially other privileged information. The scanned information is based upon a database of keywords.

Other details on this new Linux Foundation initiative can be found in their press release or on the Open Compliance Program web-site.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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