Software Package Data Exchange
Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) is an open standard for software bill of materials (SBOM). SPDX allows the expression of components, licenses, copyrights, security references and other metadata relating to software. Its original purpose was to improve license compliance, and has since been expanded to facilitate additional use-cases, such as supply-chain transparency and security. SPDX is authored by the community-driven SPDX Project under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.
The current version of the standard is 2.2.2.
|Version number||Publication date||Notes||References|
|1.0||August 2011||The first release of the SPDX specification; handles packages.|||
|1.1||August 2012||Fixed a flaw in the SPDX Package Verification Code (a cryptographic hash function) and added support for free-form comments.|||
|1.2||October 2013||Improved interaction with the SPDX License List, and added new fields for documenting extra information about software projects.|||
|2.0||May 2015||Added the ability to describe multiple packages and the relationships between different packages and files.|||
|2.1||November 2016||Added support for describing 'snippets' of code and the ability to reference non-SPDX data (such as CVEs).|||
|2.2||May 2020||Added 'SPDX-lite' profile for minimal software bill of materials and improved support for external references.|||
|2.2.1||October 2020||Functionally equivalent to SPDX 2.2 but with typesetting for publication as an ISO standard.|||
|2.2.2||April 2022||Functionally equivalent to SPDX 2.2.1 but with spelling, grammar and other editorial improvements.|||
The first version of the SPDX specification was intended to make compliance with software licenses easier, but subsequent versions of the specification added capabilities intended for other use-cases, such as being able to contain references to known software vulnerabilities. Recent versions of SPDX fulfill the NTIA's 'Minimum Elements For a Software Bill of Materials'.
SPDX 2.2.1 was submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in October, 2020, and was published as ISO/IEC 5962:2021 Information technology — SPDX® Specification V2.2.1 in August, 2021.
Each license is identified by a full name, such as "Mozilla Public License 2.0" and a short identifier, here "MPL-2.0".
Licenses can be combined by operators
OR, and grouping
There is also a "+" operator, when applied to a license, means that future versions of the license apply as well. For example,
Apache-1.1+ means that
Apache-2.0 may apply (and future versions if any).
SPDX describes the exact terms under which a piece of software is licensed. It does not attempt to categorize licenses by type, for instance by describing licenses with similar terms to the BSD License as "BSD-like".
In 2020, the European Commission publishes its Joinup Licensing Assistant, which makes possible the selection and comparison of more than 50 licenses, with access to their SPDX identifier and full text.
Deprecated license identifiers
The GNU family of licenses (e.g., GNU General Public License version 2) have the choice of choosing a later version of the license built in. Sometimes, it was not clear, whether the SPDX expression
GPL-2.0 meant "exactly GPL version 2.0" or "GPL version 2.0 or any later version". Thus, since version 3.0 of the SPDX License List, the GNU family of licenses got new names.
GPL-2.0-only means "exactly version 2.0" and
GPL-2.0-or-later means "version 2.0 or any later version".
- Stewart, Kate (May 25, 2021). "SPDX: It's Already in Use for Global Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) and Supply Chain Security". Linux Foundation. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- "Survey of Existing SBOM Formats and Standards" (PDF). National Telecommunications and Information Administration. October 25, 2019. p. 9. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- Bridgwater, Adrian (August 19, 2011). "Linux Foundation eases open source licensing woes". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- Rushgrove, Gareth (June 16, 2021). "Advancing SBOM standards: Snyk and SPDX". Retrieved 2021-08-14.
- "SPDX Current version". spdx.dev. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
- "The Linux Foundation's SPDX Workgroup Releases New Version of Software Package Data Exchange Standard". Linux Foundation. August 30, 2012. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "The Linux Foundation's SPDX Workgroup Releases New Version of Software Package Data Exchange Standard". Linux Foundation. October 22, 2013. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "What's new in SPDX 2.0". LWN.net. May 20, 2015. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "General Meeting/Minutes/2016-11-03". wiki.spdx.org. November 3, 2016. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "The Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Initiative Releases New SPDX Specification". Linux Foundation. October 4, 2016. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "SPDX 2.2 Specification Released". Linux Foundation. May 7, 2020. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "ISO/IEC 5962:2021 Information technology — SPDX® Specification V2.2.1". iso.org. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- "Release v2.2.2". github.com/spdx. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
- "The Minimum Elements For a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM)" (PDF). National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- Bernard, Allen (September 9, 2021). "SPDX becomes internationally recognized standard". TechRepublic. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
- Odence, Phil (2010-06-23). "The Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) Format". Dr Dobb's. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Joinup Licensing Assistant". Retrieved 31 March 2020.
- Richard Stallman. "For Clarity's Sake, Please Don't Say "Licensed under GNU GPL 2"!". gnu.org. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- Jilayne Lovejoy (5 January 2018). "License List 3.0 Released!". spdx.dev. Archived from the original on 2018-01-05. Retrieved 2021-09-02.