HP launches open source tracking tool

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.

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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 project stems from governance work done in-house at HP, according to the Web site set up for the project.

"We needed a tool that would quickly and accurately describe how a given open source project was licensed," a statement on the site reads: "Rather than simply collecting a project's advertised license (as given at their website or in their documentation), this tool needed to analyse all of the source code for a given project and intelligently report all of the licenses being used, based on the license declarations and tell-tale phrases that identify software licensing."

FOSSology is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2, and currently has support on most GNU/Linux platforms, according to the site.

It is not clear from the site how HP plans to make money through the initiative. A company spokeswoman declined comment and said Friday that more details will be announced this week.

Companies such as Black Duck Software are already in the FOSS-tracking business.

HP's entry brought a warm welcome from Black Duck CEO Doug Levin. Levin may feel HP's involvement will help the market expand overall. "We can now officially welcome HP to our market," Levin wrote on his blog. "FOSSology is a nice tool for developers. It will result in software developers being better informed about their use of GPL. That makes it a very worthy tool."

Right now, the FOSSology project has modules for license analysis, MIME type identification and for extracting metadata, according to the site.

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