What Licenses Does Open Source Software Really Contain? Written by on September 14, 2017

When you want to use open source software in your product, one important task is to find out the license terms applicable to those software packages. Typically, an open source project informs you that their software is licensed with a certain main license, such as GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 (LGPL 2.1). But is this the only license? Are there contributions included from third parties under other licenses? When you distribute open source software, you are responsible for adhering to the terms of all included licenses, so you need to know what they are.

Many projects provide third party license information with the software, usually in an accompanying LICENSE or README file. Not all projects do this, however, and even if third party license information is provided, it may be incomplete.

Request a Demo Analysis of Open Source of You Choice

We welcome you to visit the Validos team in the MindTrek sponsor area. We’ll be demoing Fossology use there on known open source software, and you can also request a demo analysis of open source of your choice!


Fossology is an open source software compliance tool hosted by the Linux Foundation, with which you can analyze software to find out all of the open source licenses contained in it.



Validos is an association, which helps companies and organizations in using open source effectively and compliantly. We do this by offering consultancy for setting up compliance processes and on-going services to support compliance processes.

Validos provides its members standardized Fossology analyses of any given open source software, and shares the results of one member’s analysis requests with all other members via a report database. This way Validos members do not need to ask for review of something that has already been reviewed once. In a nutshell, Validos reduces the compliance workload associated with using open source software, letting companies focus more of their efforts on what actually makes their business tick.



fossology chart

Picture: Screenshot of Fossology view of MariaDB Server 10.2


Written by:

Tapio Siilola

Tapio Siilola
Open Source Specialist, Validos ry