Software that detects violations of open source licenses

The rules make the game. You take out the rules, the game goes up in smoke. I think it’s still fine if someone takes advantage of any inconsistencies between the rules to win the game, but cheating is completely unacceptable.

In the free software world, it’s neither the maker of the software nor the market, via supply and demand, that set the rules of the game, but software licenses. That’s why today I was excited to learn about the existence of a software that can determine whether code, that has been released under a free/open-source license, has been used in another software by performing binary analysis, examination of files in binary form. The excitement is not because of some sort of personal benefit from this software. It’s just good to know that it is possible to develop tools that can defend open-source code, even if they have to analyze the derived binary file. At the moment the tool supports:

  • Automated extraction of the version and configuration of BusyBox
  • Extraction of file systems
  • Automated checking for the Linux kernel
  • Brute force scanning of firmware
  • Feeding known information through a knowledgebase

This means that, currently, it can detect the kernel and busybox in the firmware of electronic devices. I have no clue about its effectiveness and, possibly, I won’t be trying it any time soon, but, if you are interested, make sure you read more information about the features of the Binary Analysis Tool and check out the code.

Software that detects violations of open source licenses by George Notaras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Licensing Information.
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About George Notaras

George Notaras is the editor of G-Loaded Journal, a technical blog about Free and Open-Source Software. George, among other things, is an enthusiast self-taught GNU/Linux system administrator. He has created this web site to share the IT knowledge and experience he has gained over the years with other people. George primarily uses CentOS and Fedora. He has also developed some open-source software projects in his spare time.