The Linux Foundation Announces New Tool for Tracking Free and Open Source Software Components

New software tool helps to ensure open source compliance with auto-generated, custom QR codes

 SAN FRANCISCO, May 30, 2012 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the availability of The Linux Foundation FOSS Bar Code Tracker.

 Released as an open source project under the MIT license, the new software tool aims to simplify the way open source components are tracked and reported by using an auto-generated, custom QR code for each product. The QR code contains important information on the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) stack contained in a product, such as component names, version numbers, license information and links to download the source code, among other details.

The use of Linux and other open source software continues to explode in mobile and consumer electronics products. Tracking software components and licenses in each product can be a difficult task for even the most diligent compliance officer or engineering manager. The FOSS Bar Code Tracker enables product development teams to create their own FOSS Bill of Materials, identify FOSS components included in each product, and easily update and share that critical information throughout the supply chain for compliance purposes. 

For companies adopting SPDX™, which provides a standardized way of defining license information across vendors in the supply chain, or other standard formats for open source license components, the FOSS Bar Code Tracker provides the mechanism to load the standard file and generate the desired QR code.

“As the supply chain has gotten more distributed, the process of license compliance needs to be easy, fast and streamlined. The Linux Foundation’s new FOSS Bar Code Tracker addresses this with a tool everyone can use,” said Eben Moglen, executive director, Software Freedom Law Center.  “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.”

As part of its Open Compliance Program, The Linux Foundation’s FOSS Bar Code Tracker generates a one dimensional bar code, a QR code with data, or a QR code as hot link, making essential information about a product’s compliance available at the click of a button. Additional features of the FOSS Bar Code Tracker include:

  • Compliance record manipulation: creating, searching, modifying, cloning and deleting
  • Support for 1D barcode, QR codes
  • Advanced system configuration to configure company information, compliance contact information, front-end websites
  • A license panel to manage licenses

“Through our Open Compliance Program, we’ve learned that companies desperately need a free software tool for tracking and reporting open source software components,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “The new FOSS Bar Code Scanner will drastically reduce the resources needed to track and report information about the software included in every product and instill even more confidence in the companies using Linux and open source software to compete in today’s mobile and consumer electronics markets.”

For more information or to download the tool and contribute to the project, please visit: http://compliance.linuxfoundation.org.

The Linux Foundation’s Open Compliance Program includes set of tools, training curricula, a self-assessment checklist and a compliance directory that connects FOSS developers with compliance officers. These resources are intended to be a starting point in creating and managing a compliance program, allowing companies to evaluate their compliance practices in comparison to industry best practices.

The Open Compliance Program also includes SPDXTM, which provides a standard record of licensing and copyright information for all runtime dependent files contained in a software package. With SPDXTM companies and their suppliers can easily exchange software and compliance information in a standard way, a crucial missing link in the compliance landscape. For more information, please visit the Open Compliance Program website.

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. Founded in 2007, the organization sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and promotes, protects and advances the Linux operating system by marshaling the resources of its members and the open source development community. The Linux Foundation provides a neutral forum for collaboration and education by hosting Linux conferences, including LinuxCon, and generating original Linux research and content that advances the understanding of the Linux platform. Its web properties, including Linux.com, reach approximately two million people per month. The organization also provides extensive Linux training opportunities that feature the Linux kernel community’s leading experts as instructors. Follow The Linux Foundation on Twitter.

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Trademarks: The Linux Foundation, Linux Standard Base, MeeGo, Tizen and the Yocto Project are trademarks of The Linux Foundation. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.