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ScanCode is a tool to scan code for license, copyright, package and their documented dependencies and other interesting facts.

Project description

A typical software project often reuses hundreds of third-party packages. License and origin information is not always easy to find and not normalized: ScanCode discovers and normalizes this data for you.

Why use ScanCode?

  • As a standalone command line tool, ScanCode is easy to install, run and embed in your CI/CD processing pipeline. It runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.
  • ScanCode is used by several projects and organizations such as the Eclipse Foundation,, the FSF, OSS Review Toolkit,, RedHat Fabric8 analytics and many more.
  • ScanCode detects licenses, copyrights, package manifests and direct dependencies and more both in source code and binary files.
  • ScanCode provides the most accurate license detection engine and does a full comparison (aka. diff or red line) between a database of license texts and your code instead of relying only on regex patterns or probabilistic search, edit distance or machine learning.
  • Written in Python, ScanCode is easy to extend with plugins to contribute new and improved scanners, data summarization, package manifest parsers and new outputs.
  • You can save your scan results as JSON, HTML, CSV or SPDX. And you can use the companion ScanCode workbench GUI app to review and display scan results, statistics and graphics.
  • ScanCode is actively maintained, has a growing community of users.
  • ScanCode is heavily tested with an automated test suite of over 8000 tests.

See our roadmap for upcoming features:

Build and tests status

Branch Coverage Linux/macOS Windows
Master Master branch test coverage (Linux) Linux Master branch tests status Windows Master branch tests status
Develop Develop branch test coverage (Linux) Linux Develop branch tests status Windows Develop branch tests status

Quick Start

Install Python 2.7 then download and extract the latest ScanCode release from

Then run ./scancode -h for help.



Next, download and extract the latest ScanCode release from

Open a terminal window and then cd to the extracted ScanCode directory and run this command to display help. ScanCode will self-configure if needed:

./scancode --help

You can run an example scan printed on screen as JSON:

./scancode -clip --json-pp - samples

See more command examples:

./scancode --examples

Archive extraction

The archives that exist in a codebase must be extracted before running a scan: ScanCode does not extract files from tarballs, zip files, etc. as part of the scan. The bundled utility extractcode is a mostly-universal archive extractor. For example, this command will recursively extract the mytar.tar.bz2 tarball in the mytar.tar.bz2-extract directory:

./extractcode mytar.tar.bz2

Documentation & FAQ

See also for related companion projects and tools.


If you have a problem, a suggestion or found a bug, please enter a ticket at:

For discussions and chats, we have:


  • Apache-2.0 with an acknowledgement required to accompany the scan output.
  • Public domain CC-0 for reference datasets.
  • Multiple licenses (GPL2/3, LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc.) for third-party components.

See the NOTICE file and the .ABOUT files that document the origin and license of the third-party code used in ScanCode for more details.

Project details

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