• Home
  • Blog
  • Open Source License Management Tools: Features and Best Practices

Open Source License Management Tools: Features and Best Practices

Effectively managing the many open source licenses used in enterprise software is a complex task that requires a thorough evaluation of key features in software license management tools. After that, you need to implement the technology using several best practices. In this blog post, let’s take a brief look at both.

Key license management features

License management tools should be comprehensive, easy to use, and integrate well into existing development environments. Let’s take a brief look at some of the key features.

  • Effective tracking. There are over 200 different open source licenses with particular terms and conditions. Your license management tool must be able to track them all and ensure compliance with legal requirements.
  • Early implementation. The tool should be deployable early in the software development life cycle (SDLC) to quickly find and address components with problematic licenses before production is complete. This saves developers from the complex and time-consuming task of removing and replacing code at the end of a production life cycle. It also reduces the risk of discovering issues post-release — at that point, you’re infringing license terms and there could be legal implications.
  • Automation. Your license management tool should enable you to set up a custom license policy, define automatically approved and rejected licenses, and list those that need to be approved on a case-by-case basis. All approvals should be tracked, signed, and archived within the tool’s system for later access.

Your tool should then send automatic alerts so that issues can be fixed before software is incorporated into the build. Applications for licensing and copyright creation should be automated to further streamline license compliance.

License management best practices

  • Standardize procurement processes throughout your organization and define the way you store licenses. Standardization reduces variation, which increases consistency and reduces the chance for issues to fall through the cracks.
  • Create a centralized license inventory to provide one source of truth and streamline search. Assign a single inventory manager if possible.
  • Catalog your software so you know precisely what you’re using. Make sure you implement a system that makes it easy to identify which licenses go with which software.
  • Install license management tools on all your systems, even those that presently don’t run or aren’t connected to the network. This ensures comprehensive coverage. Remember, you’re likely to use dependencies, so even when one component might not need a paid license, there may be software associated with it that does.
  • Understand your software, how it’s used, installed, and accessed. You may find things you’re unaware of, or things that are now redundant that you can remove.
  • Review and measure the licenses you need to make sure that they cover all of the ways you use the software.
  • Regularly update your inventories to be certain that you continue to comply with licenses and any updates that may arise.


Check out the Complete Guide to Open Source Licenses

Meet The Author

Adam Murray

Adam Murray is a content writer at Mend. He began his career in corporate communications and PR, in London and New York, before moving to Tel Aviv. He’s spent the last ten years working with tech companies like Amdocs, Gilat Satellite Systems, Allot Communications, and Sisense. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature. When he’s not spending time with his wife and son, he’s preoccupied with his beloved football team, Tottenham Hotspur.

Subscribe to Our Blog