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Re: eCos v2.0 licence change

Dan Conti wrote:
> Why not just use the LGPL and remove the requirement for redistribution
> of the unlinked binary?

We very seriously considered using the vanilla LGPL. However, the
obligation to release separately linkable objects is just as much hassle
for the distributor as the GPL (especially given the absence of shared
libraries), but without the benefit of the users being able to see the
source. And in any case since eCos is fully linked, having the program
object files without also things like the configuration that goes with it
makes the value to the user even less. Since the applicability of the
licence is restricted to eCos files, the only difference is the format.

In addition when it comes to programs like RedBoot, it just gets confusing
to use a licence based around libraries.

But of course one of the biggest reasons to go this route and not, say, add
an exception to the LGPL for unlinked binaries is that we believe in open
source software, which means we really want to encourage people who are
using eCos for free to make any improvements available to the community as
a whole. That's the way open source works.

> I understand your motive for migrating off
> RHEPL, but i have to be honest with you, a lot of companies are fearful
> of GPL (even with your exception to the viral clause). At least in the
> near term i have no intention of upgrading to eCos 2.0.

In fact some aspects of this new licence are _less_ restrictive than the

> Also, your
> license is distinct enough from the stock GPL that it should either a)
> have a unique name, or b) in the copyright notice in paragraph two state
> that eCos can be used under the terms of "this modified license"; as
> stated it can only be used under the GPL 2 or later versions of the GPL.

That may be a useful clarification. I'll talk to the FSF about that. As for
a name, well, strictly it is now "the eCos license", just like there is
"the Guile license" etc. The only slightly unhelpful thing is that some
things are distributed under different licenses in eCos (e.g. BSD, and the
docs are in OPL).

Perhaps we should coin something like TEL for this :-).

> Another question, why not adjust the RHEPL to be GPL compatible?

The RHEPL is obscure. A lot of people don't really know what it is. We've
heard of a few _companies_ who have said that eCos is "public domain" or
that you can use it without restriction. We need something more widely
understood, even if modified to suit our needs. Think of it as a brand if
you like!

> Regarding the openbsd tcp stack port, what license is that covered by?
> BSD still? If so, i should safely be able to grab the port without
> getting any modified-GPL code?

The stack itself is now BSD only (it was RHEPL'd as well before) as that
resolves an incompatibility between the GPL and the BSD+advertising clause,
which applies to a few of the source files (not the ones that say covered
by UCB as UCB has dropped the advertising clause whatever the source files
say). However in future you may find unavoidable dependencies on the rest
of the code introduced, particularly the ethernet layer. Obviously you're
free to work around those as long as you want! You have the power - it's
open source :-).

Red Hat, Rustat House, Clifton Road, Cambridge, UK. Tel: +44 (1223) 271062
Maybe this world is another planet's Hell -Aldous Huxley || Opinions==mine

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