Qodana 2023.1 Help

License audit

Making sure that your project license is compatible with the licenses of its dependencies is never an easy task, but this is required for legal purposes. To automate this process and avoid mistakes, you can use License audit currently supported by several Qodana linters:


Tools supported

Qodana for JVM

Maven and Gradle

Qodana for PHP


Qodana for JS

npm and Yarn

Qodana for Python


Qodana for Go

Go Modules

How it works

License audit collects information about project and dependency licenses using configuration files of dependency management tools and files containing license texts. Based on the information collected, it builds the dependency tree containing information about:

  • The project license

  • Licenses of project dependencies

  • Licenses of the dependencies invoked by project dependencies

This tree shows which dependency licenses are (in)compatible with your project license.

For example, a project is licensed under the Apache-2.0 license and uses three dependencies licensed under the MIT, GPL-2.0-only, and Apache-2.0 licenses. This table explains which dependency licenses are compatible with the project license.


Licensed under

Compatible with the project license

Project software


Dependency A



Dependency B



Dependency C



Depending on the location of license information, the Qodana for JVM linter performs a sequence of steps to find it. First of all, it searches for any license references in the LICENSE.* files. Next, it scans through the pom.xml file. If necessary, it then scans through dependency source files. Otherwise, the linter requests the PACKAGE-SEARCH plugin.

The Qodana for JS linter using npm reads information about project and dependency licenses using configuration files of package management tools. The Qodana for PHP linter also reads license information from the Composer configuration file.

The Qodana for Python, Qodana for Go, and Qodana for JS linter using Yarn require that the LICENSE.* file in the project root contains the project license.

For all linters except Qodana for JVM, you also need to have project dependencies installed using the bootstrap option of the qodana.yaml file.

After Qodana has finished analyzing your project, the results become available in the report.

Run License audit

To run License audit, enable the CheckDependencyLicenses inspection.

Below are the qodana.yaml configuration samples that tell Qodana to install project dependencies and enable License audit:

include: - name: CheckDependencyLicenses
bootstrap: |+ # Install dependencies php composer.phar update include: - name: CheckDependencyLicenses
bootstrap: |+ # Use npm to install dependencies npm install # Install Yarn npm install -g yarn # Use Yarn to install dependencies yarn install --frozen-lockfile include: - name: CheckDependencyLicenses
bootstrap: |+ # Install dependencies pip install -r requirements.txt include: - name: CheckDependencyLicenses
bootstrap: |+ # Install dependencies go mod tidy include: - name: CheckDependencyLicenses

You can also extend these samples using configuration options described below.

Ignore dependencies

You can use the dependencyIgnores option to ignore a license of a specific dependency in your project:

dependencyIgnores: - name: "aapt2-proto" - name: "dexlib2"

Allow or prohibit dependency licenses

You can override the license matrix and specify the list of dependency licenses that are allowed or prohibited for a specific project license.

In this snippet, the keys key accepts application licenses, and the allowed and prohibited keys accept the lists of allowed and prohibited dependency licenses respectively. As a result, the AGPL-3.0-only becomes compatible with the AFL-2.0 project license, while the Apache-1.0 dependency license becomes incompatible.

licenseRules: - keys: - "AFL-2.0" allowed: - "AGPL-3.0-only" prohibited: - "Apache-1.0"

All keys from this sample can accept several values:

licenseRules: - keys: - "PROPRIETARY-LICENSE" allowed: ["CC0-1.0", "CPL-1.0", "CC-BY-4.0", "EPL-1.0", "CDDL-1.0"]

Override a dependency license

You can override a dependency license identifier. This can be useful when a dependency is dual-licensed, and you want to omit some license, or when the license name cannot be detected from the dependency sources correctly.

Using this sample, you can tell Qodana to detect only the CDDL-1.1 and GPL-2.0-with-classpath-exception licenses for jaxb-runtime version 2.3.1.

In this sample, url is optional.

dependencyOverrides: - name: "jaxb-runtime" version: "2.3.1" url: "https://github.com/javaee/jaxb-v2" licenses: - key: "CDDL-1.1" url: "https://github.com/javaee/jaxb-v2/blob/master/LICENSE" - key: "GPL-2.0-with-classpath-exception" url: "https://github.com/javaee/jaxb-v2/blob/master/LICENSE"

Create custom dependencies

If you want to include the dependency that should be mentioned in the report but is impossible to detect from the project sources, you can use the customDependencies key to specify it:

customDependencies: - name: ".babelrc JSON Schema (.babelrc-schema.json)" version: "JSON schema for Babel 6+ configuration files" licenses: - key: "Apache-2.0" url: "https://github.com/SchemaStore/schemastore/blob/master/LICENSE"

Verify data

To overview License audit results, in the inspection report click the Project audit tab.

The dependency tree

License audit inspection results are grouped into a dependency tree.

  1. If applicable, you can expand a specific dependency to overview its dependency tree.

  2. Using Only alerted, you can switch between all project dependencies and dependencies which licenses are incompatible with the project license.

  3. Under Project licenses you can find the list of project licenses. Using License rules, you can overview the rules of license compatibility.

  4. You can download the list of dependencies in various formats.

Last modified: 09 June 2023