[ECOS] eCos v2.0 licence change
Mon May 20 13:50:00 GMT 2002
As mentioned in my other mail, very shortly, anonymous CVS is to be updated
with a version of the v2.0 ALPHA codebase.
A key thing to make people aware of is that the licence for eCos is
changing. We stated before that we wanted to make eCos v2.0 GPL compatible
and that's what we have done. For most of eCos, the following licence will
apply. This licence is the well-known GNU General Public Licence, with
special modifications to make it more amenable for use in an embedded
This file is part of eCos, the Embedded Configurable Operating System.
Copyright (C) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Red Hat, Inc.
eCos is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under
the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free
Software Foundation; either version 2 or (at your option) any later
eCos is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY
WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License
for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
with eCos; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA.
As a special exception, if other files instantiate templates or use macros
or inline functions from this file, or you compile this file and link it
with other works to produce a work based on this file, this file does not
by itself cause the resulting work to be covered by the GNU General Public
License. However the source code for this file must still be made
available in accordance with section (3) of the GNU General Public
This exception does not invalidate any other reasons why a work based on
this file might be covered by the GNU General Public License.
Alternative licenses for eCos may be arranged by contacting Red Hat, Inc.
Now for some helpful clarification on the meaning, although, first of all I
should say that this is an interpretation of the text above, and not part
of the legal meaning...
Q. What is the effect?
A. In the simplest terms, it means that when you distribute anything
containing eCos code, you must make the source code to eCos available under
the terms of the GPL.
Q. What if I make changes to eCos, or write new code based on eCos code?
A. Then you must make those changes available as well.
Q. How does this compare with the RHEPL?
A. With the RHEPL you are obliged to make any changes to eCos code
publically available to the eCos community. While encouraging source to be
made open, it was however incompatible with the GPL. As an open source
project, we do not want to prevent people using GPL code if they want to.
The new licence addresses this, while preserving the benefits of open
In addition, since the GPL is better known and more widely understood,
there will be a higher level of compliance.
Q. Do I have to distribute the source code to my application? Isn't the GPL
A. You do not have to distribute any code under the GPL terms other than
eCos code or code derived from eCos.
This means, for example, if you write a HAL port based on copying an
existing eCos HAL in any way, you must make the source code available with
the binary. However you would not need to make available any other code,
say, in a wholly separate application linked with eCos.
Q. But I don't want to release my code! / I'm legally prevented from
releasing my code!
A. Red Hat realises that some people may not want to release their code to
changes they make, or even make available eCos code with their binary. This
could be due to commercial sensitivity reasons, confidentiality agreements,
In this case, Red Hat can provide an "eCos Commercial Licence" for your
product that will allow you to release your product based on eCos
unencumbered by the GPL restrictions.
Q. I'm a Red Hat customer. What does this mean to me?
A. All existing Red Hat customers with RHEPL code don't need to worry.
Nothing has changed with the licence to the code you already have.
Q. I'd rather keep with the RHEPL code, but I updated my anonymous CVS
A. You can check out the final version of anonymous CVS before the licence
change using the CVS tag "last-rhepl". See
http://sources.redhat.com/ecos/anoncvs.html for details.
I'm sure there will be more queries, so please do ask away. This will go
into the FAQ shortly.
Red Hat, Rustat House, Clifton Road, Cambridge, UK. Tel: +44 (1223) 271062
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