SPDX vs CycloneDX –  A Detailed Comparison

Last updated on by Editorial Staff
SPDX vs CycloneDX

You’ve probably heard of both SPDX and CycloneDX, but you’re not sure which one is the right tool for you. Both tools have benefits and limits, and it can be hard to decide which is best for your needs.

That’s where this comparison comes in.

This post will take a detailed look at SPDX vs CycloneDX, their features, and their strengths and weaknesses. After reading the post, you should have a good idea of which tool is right for you.

What is SPDX?

SPDX is one of the major SBOM standards for specifying the software components in a product.

It provides a standard language for software developers, buyers, and sellers to communicate the components, copyrights, licenses, and security information associated with software components in multiple file formats and the products they are creating, using, and selling.

SPDX example

What is CycloneDX?

CycloneDX is a standard SBOM tool for managing software development projects. It helps you track your project’s dependencies, license information, and security vulnerabilities. It also makes finding and fixing security vulnerabilities in your code manageable.

CycloneDX Inventory

SPDX vs CycloneDx

History

SPDX was created and developed in 2010 by the’ Linux Foundation.’ As per Linux Foundation, SPDX provides a standard data exchange format. In addition, it focuses on providing open source license compliance.

CycloneDX was created in 2017 by the ‘OWASP‘ community and developed as an open-source project. It focuses on vulnerabilities and security along with open-source. It provides vulnerability identification, license compliance, and outdated component analysis for open source components. OWASP, ServiceNow, and Sanatype team members are core working groups.

Supported formats of SPDX vs CycloneDX

Features of CycloneDX vs SPDX

SPDX has a few more features than CycloneDX. For example,

  • SPDX can track the software components in a product, while CycloneDX can only be used to track the software components in a project.
  • SPDX can also be used to share information about the software components with other developers, buyers, and sellers.

What is it?

CycloneX and SPDX SBOM format comparison

More about SPDX vs CycloneDX

SPDXCycloneDX
Information about document creation: It gives information about who, how, and when created the SPDX file and associates analysis results with a particular version of the SPDX fileBOM metadata: It provides information about the manufacturer, supplier, target components, license information, and tools used to create BOM.
Package information: Matters that are common properties of the whole packageComponents: This field outlines the inventory of first-party and third-party components
File information: Matters that are particular to files that may be included in packagesServices: It outlines the external APIs such as authentication requirements, endpoint URIs, trust boundary traversals
Snippet information: Matters that are particular to only a part of the fileDependencies: Outlines how components depend on each other through a dependency graph that shows direct and transitive relationships
Licensing information: A method to capture information about licenses and refer to other licenses that are not provided in the SPDX license listExtensions: Provides extension points to help future use cases and functionality
Correlation between SPDX elements: Provides details about how documents, files, and packages related to each other
Annotations: Details about who reviewed SPDX files and when reviewed

FAQs

What are SBOM standards?

SBOM standards are guidelines that help ensure a consistent and accurate description of the components that make up a system. That can make it easier to identify and manage licenses for the various parts of a system and track down any potential issues with using specific components.

What is the main difference between SPDX and CycloneDX?

SPDX (Software Package Data Exchange) is a standard format for sharing information about software packages, while CycloneDX is a specification for creating SBOMs (Software Bill of Materials). Both aim to provide accurate and consistent information about the components that make up a system.

Which standard is better to use?

Answering this question is a little tricky. You can choose the standards depending on your specific needs. For example, if you need to share detailed information about the components in a system with humans, then SPDX is probably the better choice. However, if you need to generate SBOMs that machines can quickly process, CycloneDX is likely to be a better fit.

Conclusion

In this article, we have compared SPDX and CycloneDX. We found that both these tools are suitable for different purposes. While SPDX is more prevalent among developers, CycloneDX is better suited for data scientists. However, both these tools are worth trying out.