Hewlett-Packard has launched the FOSSology Project, a tool for tracking and monitoring the use of free and open-source software within an IT environment. The FOSSology Project is a Free Open Source Software (FOSS) project built around an open and modular architecture for analyzing software. Existing modules include license analysis, meta data extraction, and MIME type identification. This open source software tool analyzes a given set of software packages, and reports items such as the software licenses used by these packages.
More than simply reporting, "Package X uses license Y," the FOSSology tool attempts to analyze every file within the package to determine its license. The license report is thus an aggregate of all of the different licenses found to be in use by a package. A single package may be labeled as "GPL" but contain files that use other licenses (BSD, OSL, or any of the hundreds of other licenses). Even if an exact license is unknown, the license may be identifiable by common license phrases.
The availability of free open-source usage data "will help people make much better-- and affordable-- decisions about what open source to use and not use," Cote said.
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