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Better metadata makes successful Free and Open-Source Software projects

Though you can’t see it, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is everywhere; powering your phone, laptop, car, drone, television, and many of the other things you use in your daily life. Millions of developers around the world are creating it, and sharing their knowledge and solutions for billions of people to enjoy.

The world of Free and Open Source Software development is an organized chaos of various contributors, communities, licenses, and technologies. All of these elements come together in symbiotic projects to create solutions to solve real-world problems.

This means a single application can sometimes depend on tens, hundreds or in even thousands of other Free and Open Source Software packages, each with different copyright holders and individual licenses to navigate.

Figuring out this last bit, the copyright and licenses applicable to a Free and Open Source Software project, is a growing burden for both those that create Open Source Software and those that utilize that software in their applications. Projects that lack the clear metadata that defines things like licensing requirements are harder to adopt, and so get fewer contributions and lower engagement. In short, less metadata means less success.

On the consumer side, enormous effort is required to discover and comply with licensing obligations and track security issues. Even simple things like the location of the source code for a component can be painful to find.

Today the Open Source Initiative has announced a new incubator project: ClearlyDefined is a crowdsourced project aimed at boosting the success of Free and Open Source Software projects by clearly defining their status.

HERE is proud to be part of ClearlyDefined, and sees it as one of the missing puzzle pieces that will help resolve a Free and Open Source Software community problem with a community solution. It fits perfectly with another open-sourced puzzle piece we are building called OSS Review Toolkit to scale Free and Open Source Software reviews so they can be done within the time it takes to build, test and deploy the software in continuous integration and continuous delivery.

We have begun integrating these two projects together. When Open Source Software Review Toolkit’s initial release is live later this year you will have the option to retrieve Free and Open Source Software component metadata from ClearlyDefined but also request it to scan components or repositories for you.

We believe ClearlyDefined together with OSS Review Toolkit will enable Free and Open Source Software maintainers make their project more successful by enabling them to provide metadata on their Open Source Software usage via highly automated reviews during source code creation.

You can read more about this from our partner websites:


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