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License Finder

Build Status

With bundler it's easy for your project to depend on many gems. This decomposition is nice, but managing licenses becomes difficult. This tool gathers info about the licenses of the gems in your project.


Add license_finder to your Rails project's Gemfile and bundle:

gem 'license_finder', :git => ""

Now, initialize license finder:

$ bundle exec rake license:init

This will create a config/license_finder.yml file that lets you configure license finder. This is where you should add licenses which are allowed on the project, so they will be automatically approved.


Once you've whitelisted licenses, you can then tell license finder to analyze your Gemfile:

$ bundle exec rake license:generate_dependencies

This will write out a dependencies.yml and dependencies.txt file in the root of your project.

It will also merge in an existing dependencies.yml file, if one exists (i.e., you've previously run this command and then edited the resulting file).

Action Items

Once you've generated a dependencies.yml file via the rake license:generate_dependencies file, you can tell License Finder to output a list of dependencies that have non-whitelisted licenses:

$ bundle exec rake license:action_items

This will output a list of unapproved dependencies to the console.

Similarly, bundle exec rake license:action_items:ok will return a non-zero exit status if there unapproved dependencies. You could use this in a CI build, for example, to alert you whenever someone adds an unapproved dependency to the project.

Usage outside Rails

As a standalone script:

$ git clone license_finder
$ cd /path/to/your/project
$ /path/to/license_finder/bin/license_finder

Optionally add --with-licenses to include the full text of the licenses in the output.

Sample Output

File: config/license_finder.yml:

- Apache 2.0
- test
- development

File: dependencies.yml:

- name: "json_pure"
  version: "1.5.1"
  license: "other"
  approved: false

- name: "rake"
  version: "0.8.7"
  license: "MIT"
  approved: true

File: dependencies.txt:

json_pure 1.5.1, other
rake 0.8.7, MIT

File: bin/license_finder:

json_pure 1.5.1:
  dependency_name: json_pure
  dependency_version: 1.5.1
  install_path: /some/path/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/json_pure-1.5.1
  - file_name: COPYING
    header_type: other
    body_type: other
    disclaimer_of_liability: other
  - file_name: COPYING-json-jruby
    header_type: other
    body_type: other
    disclaimer_of_liability: other
  - file_name: README
    mentions_license: true
  - file_name: README-json-jruby.markdown
    mentions_license: false
rake 0.8.7:
  dependency_name: rake
  dependency_version: 0.8.7
  install_path: /some/path/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/rake-0.8.7
  - file_name: MIT-LICENSE
    header_type: other
    body_type: mit
    disclaimer_of_liability: "mit: THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS"
  - file_name: README
    mentions_license: true

A note to gem authors / maintainers

For the good of humanity, please add a license to your gemspec! do |s| = "my_great_gem"
  s.license = "MIT"

And add a LICENSE file to your gem that contains your license text.

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