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Licensed caches the licenses of dependencies and checks their status, and is available as a Ruby gem.

Licensed is not a complete open source license compliance solution. Please understand the important disclaimer below to make appropriate use of Licensed.

Current Status

Build status

Licensed is in active development and currently used at GitHub. See the open issues for a list of potential work.

Licensed v4 - Removed support for non-Ruby environments

Licensed v4 no longer provides a self-contained executable build of licensed. Please see the deprecation notice for more context.

Licensed v3

Licensed v3 includes a breaking change if both of the following are true:

  1. a project uses bundler to manage ruby dependencies
  2. a project uses the self-contained executable build of licensed

All other usages of licensed should not encounter any major changes migrating from the latest 2.x build to 3.0.

See for more details on what's changed. See the v3 migration documentation for more info on migrating to v3.

Licensed v2

Licensed v2 includes many internal changes intended to make licensed more extensible and easier to update in the future. While not too much has changed externally, v2 is incompatible with configuration files and cached records from previous versions. Fortunately, migrating is easy using the licensed migrate command.

See for more details on what's changed. See the v2 migration documentation for more info on migrating to v2, or run licensed help migrate.



Licensed uses the libgit2 bindings for Ruby provided by rugged. rugged requires cmake and pkg-config which you may need to install before you can install Licensed.

# Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install cmake pkg-config

# macOS
brew install cmake pkg-config

With Gemfile

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'licensed', :group => 'development'

And then execute:

$> bundle

With Homebrew (on macOS)

brew install licensed


See getting started for guidance using Licensed as part of your developer workflow.

Available commands

See the commands documentation for documentation on available commands, or run licensed -h to see all of the current available commands.

Configuration options

A configuration file is required for most commands. See the configuration file documentation for more details on the configuration format and available configuration options.

Available dependency sources

Licensed can enumerate dependency for many languages, package managers, and frameworks. See the sources documentation for the list of currently available sources. Sources can be explicitly enabled and disabled as a configuration option.


To get started after checking out the repo, run

  1. script/bootstrap to install dependencies
  2. script/setup to setup test fixtures.
  • script/setup -f will force a clean test fixture environment
  1. script/cibuild to run the tests

You can also run script/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in version.rb, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to

Adding a new source

See the documentation on adding new sources for detailed information on what's required to add a new dependency source enumerator.


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributor Covenant code of conduct. See CONTRIBUTING for more details.


Licensed is not a complete open source license compliance solution. Like any bug, licensing issues are far cheaper to fix if found early. Licensed is intended to provide automation around documenting the licenses of dependencies and whether they are configured to be allowed by a user of licensed, in other words, to surface the most obvious licensing issues early.

Licensed is not a substitute for human review of each dependency for licensing or any other issues. It is not the goal of Licensed or GitHub, Inc. to provide legal advice about licensing or any other issues. If you have any questions regarding licensing compliance for your code or any other legal issues relating to it, it’s up to you to do further research or consult with a professional.


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.