Industry Requirements for FLOSS Governance Tools to Facilitate the Use of Open Source Software in Commercial Products


Virtually all software products incorporate free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) components. However, ungoverned use of FLOSS components can result in legal and financial risks, and risks to a firm’s intellectual property. To avoid these risks, companies must govern their FLOSS use through open source governance processes and by following industry best practices. A particular challenge is license compliance. To manage the complexity of governance and compliance, companies should use tools and well-defined processes. This paper investigates and presents industry requirements for FLOSS governance tools, followed by an evaluation of the suggested requirements. We chose eleven companies with an advanced understanding of open source governance and interviewed their FLOSS governance experts to derive a theory of industry requirements for tooling. We extended our previous work adding the requirement category on the architecture model for software products. We then analyzed the features of leading governance tools and used this analysis to evaluate two categories of our theory: FLOSS license scanning and FLOSS components in product bills of materials. The result is a list of FLOSS governance requirements. For practical relevance, we cast our theory as a requirements specification for FLOSS governance tools.

Journal of Systems and Software