Software Licensing Featured Articles

SPDX Workgroup Releases New Version of Software Package Data Exchange Standard

September 04, 2012
By Anshu Shrivastava, Software Licensing Contributor

The Linux Foundation hosted SPDX workgroup has released version 1.1 of its Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) standard, saying that it includes new features and an expanded list of licenses that is being adopted by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and other organizations.

These updates provide a common format for companies and communities to share important data about software license and copyrights, thereby streamlining and improving compliance, reducing redundant work.

The enhancements incorporated in SPDX 1.1 are optional fields including license names and cross references to license sites; new comment fields added to capture important facts in the document, license and file sections; and Web access to license data that allows other websites and tools access to the most current information in real-time.

Additionally, SPDX 1.1 includes an expanded list of licenses, new short form identifiers for all licenses, and an easier process for accommodating additional license requests. Company officials said that OSI has adopted the short identifiers for all OSI-approved licenses.

Plus, the new version offers support to open source tools that assist users with the production, viewing and validation of SPDX data files: SPDX Viewer, which is a command line driven Java application that formats a valid SPDX RDF document into a text file for easier viewing and SpreadsheetToRDF, which converts a spreadsheet containing SPDX information into a valid SPDX/RDF file.

RDFToSpreadsheet converts a valid SPDX/RDF file into a spreadsheet while LicenseRDFaGenerator converts a valid license spreadsheet file into a directory of HTML files to be used on the SPDX website, according to company officials.

The SPDX workgroup is drastically improving the process for license compliance across multiple industries where Linux and open source software are dominant, said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, adding that with the increasing adoption of SPDX and its latest release, companies can move more quickly with product development and innovation based on open source software.

Earlier in August, the SPDX workgroup released version 1.0 of its SPDX standard. This standard helps facilitate compliance with free and open source software licenses by standardizing the way license information is shared across the software supply chain. SPDX offers a common format for companies and communities to share important data about software licenses and copyrights, thereby streamlining and improving compliance.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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