Software Package Data Exchange

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SPDX (Software Package Data Exchange[1]) is a file format used to document information on the software licenses under which a given piece of computer software is distributed. SPDX is authored by the SPDX Working Group, which represents more than twenty different organizations, under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.[2]

SPDX attempts to standardize the way in which organizations publish their metadata on software licenses and components in bills of material.[3]

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".[1]

The current version of the standard is 2.0. Version 2.1 is being developed.

Licence syntax[edit]

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 AND and OR.

For example, (LGPL-2.1 OR MIT) means that you can choose between LGPL-2.1 (GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1 only ) or MIT (MIT license).

On the other hand, (LGPL-2.1 AND MIT) means that both licenses apply.

There is also a "+" operator, when applied to a license, means that future versions of the license apply. For example, GPL-2.0+ means that GPL-2.0 and GPL-3.0 may apply (and future versions if any).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Odence, Phil (2010-06-23). "The Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) Format". Dr Dobb's. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  2. ^ Stewart, Kate; Odence, Phil; Rockett, Esteban. "Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX™) Specification". International Free and Open Source Software Law Review. 2 (2). doi:10.5033/ifosslr.v2i2.45. 
  3. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven (August 10, 2010). "Linux Foundation launches major open-source license compliance program". Computerworld. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 

External links[edit]