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The Linux Foundation Announces Free Open Source Compliance Course for Developers

By 2016-03-298月 22nd, 2017Press Release

 New self-paced course makes licensing compliance know-how easy for a new generation of developers 

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit – March 29, 2016 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the availability of Open Source Compliance Basics for Developers(LFC191), a free course designed to provide software developers with knowledge about legal and licensing issues for building and using open source software.

The new course complements The Linux Foundation’s comprehensive Professional Open Source Compliance and Management portfolio of services, which includes tools, training and business and technology consulting that helps both developers and companies simplify development and speed innovation. 

“The easier it is to understand, comply with and manage open source software and licensing, the more code that gets shared for everyone and the more innovation that takes place,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “By lowering the cost and complexity of compliance we hope we can increase the ability for everyone to share.”

Complying with open source licenses isn’t difficult, but it does require training and is essential for anyone building or contributing to open source code bases today. That includes almost anyone building any kind of technology. As open source has come to occupy an increasingly large footprint in all technology products and services, developers and professional open source managers need to acquire core competency in compliance and other areas of open source management. 

LFC191 teaches developers about the central role of copyright in open source licensing, as well as important details on copyright law and patents as they apply to open source. The goal of the course is to help streamline the compliance process. Understanding how copyrights and licenses work and being able to clearly and accurately specify them is key to making sure that software is accepted into projects.

The course is offered under a CC BY-SA 4.0 (Creative Commons) license, allowing anyone to share the course material free of charge with the option to contribute feedback and suggest improvements to it, similar to any open source software project. It consists of five modules, each containing lessons and exercises intended to efficiently and effectively relay the required information. A final exam is required in order to pass the course.

The Linux Foundation’s portfolio of Open Compliance programs includes SPDX, a common language for sharing license information; FOSSology, open source license compliance software system and toolkit; and OpenChain, which standardizes best practices for open source compliance.

Individuals interested in taking Open Source Compliance Basics for Developers may register for the course at Those wishing to contribute feedback on the course and suggestions for improvement, may do so by emailing

For more information The Linux Foundation’s training and certification programs, please visit:

Supporting Quotes:

“Because open source is now found everywhere software exists, a healthy software supply chain involves each link that chain understanding its open source obligations and following consistent compliance practices.  The Linux Foundation course “Open Source Compliance Basics for Developers” (LFC191) is an excellent place for organizations and individuals to quickly become more knowledgeable participants, to build that ecosystem.”
-Dave Marr, Acting Moderator of the OpenChain Working Group, and VP/Legal Counsel at Qualcomm Technologies

“License compliance has always been a vital component of Open Source engagement. This course helps explain key elements in an accessible way and offers enormous potential to help support effective use of Open Source worldwide.”
-Shane Coughlan, Founder, Opendawn

“This course provides a valuable introduction to free software licensing. Anyone considering using or contributing to a FOSS community should review this material.”
– Tom Callaway, Community Licensing and University Outreach Lead, Fedora

About The Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at

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Trademarks: The Linux Foundation, Linux Standard Base, MeeGo, Tizen, and Yocto Project are trademarks of The Linux Foundation. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.

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