About FOSSology

The FOSSology project started out as an internal development effort at Hewlett Packard Company (HP). As part of HP's own internal IT governance process, we needed a tool that would quickly and accurately describe how a given open source project was licensed. Rather than simply collecting a project's advertised license (as given at their website or in their documentation), this tool needed to analyze 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.

Thus was born FOSSology -- "The study of FOSS." The name shows our grandiose vision that open source license detection was only one application of what could become a valuable general-purpose software data mining framework. Today we have multiple license scanners, copyright detection, buckets (i.e. categories of licenses), package headers (rpm/deb), export control scans, a license compliance workflow and more.

We have contributors from several companies with Siemens currently being the leading contributor.