Although open source licensing’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past two decades, in truth, open source was the original model for software licensing, with proprietary licensing coming later. However, open-source licensing can get be confusing and a bit complicated, to say the least. ZDNet brought this information to our attention in their article, “GitHub makes open-source project licensing easier with an open-source program.”

These days, many programs are 20 percent original code on top of 80 percent previously open-sourced code. To help address the resulting licensing complications, GitHub has open sourced Licensed, an internal tool they’ve used to automate some of GitHub’s open-source projects licensing process.

This newly open-source program operates on the concepts of applications. An application is defined as the combination of a source location and a cache directory. A configuration file is used to specify one or more application you’re checking for licensing concerns. The program discovers what dependencies exist for each of your applications. For each dependent library or routine found, Licensed finds its dependency source location in the local environment and extracts its basic metadata.

This is one option to reduce the frustration level of open-source licensing.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.