[ECOS] eCos version 2.0 is a GPL-compatible Free Software license

Peter Vandenabeele peter.vandenabeele@mind.be
Fri Nov 22 11:04:00 GMT 2002


Dear all,

The current version of the GNU licensing page about free software 
licenses, non-free licenses etc. still mentions:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html

  ...

  The following licenses do not qualify as free software licenses. A non-free 
  license is automatically incompatible with the GNU GPL.

  ...
  
  eCos Public License
      This was the old license of eCos. It is not a free software license, because 
      it requires sending every published modified version to a specific initial 
      developer. There are also some other words in this license whose meaning 
      we're not sure of that might also be problematic.

      Today eCos is available under the GNU GPL with additional permission for 
      linking with non-free programs. 

However, a time ago I sent a request to the Free Software Foundation
to take a new look on the new version 2.0 license and recently we received
this response from Mr. David Turner on that matter (which I take as good 
news).

Sincerely,

Peter

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: 11 Nov 2002 13:05:14 -0500
> From: David Turner <novalis@gnu.org>
> To: Alexandre.Dulaunoy@ael.be
> Subject: Re: [Activists-ael] Organizational issues (fwd)
> 
> Yes, we agree that this is a GPL-compatible Free Software license. 
> However, I haven't yet had the will to push through the changes to the
> license list -- this is a bit of a process.  I will start that now.
> 
> On Sat, 2002-11-09 at 11:07, Alexandre Dulaunoy wrote:
> > Hello David,
> > 
> > I  forward  you  an  issue   regarding  the  new  ecos  license  (from
> > RHAT). This is a standby question  from two activists at AEL. Have you
> > already discussed the matter at FSF ? 
> > 
> > Thanks a lot. 
> > 
> > adulau
> > 
> > 
> > -- 
> > --			      Alexandre Dulaunoy -- http://www.foo.be/
> > --         http://pgp.ael.be:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0x44E6CBCD
> > "People who fight may lose.People who do not fight have already lost." 
> > 							Bertolt Brecht

[...]
 
> > From: Peter Vandenabeele <peter.vandenabeele@mind.be>
> > To: licensing@gnu.org
> > Cc: Peter Vandenabeele <peter.vandenabeele@mind.be>
> > Subject: your vision on the eCos 2.0 license; gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html
> > Date: 28 Sep 2002 15:20:19 +0200
> > 
> > Dear Sir,
> > 
> > I kindly request your review of the eCos 2.0 license, in relation to analysis
> > made of different alternative Free Software and proprietary licenses mentioned
> > on the page:
> > 
> >   http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html
> > 
> > Your current comment on the eCos 1.3 license is correct, but please note that
> > eCos 2.0 was licensed by Red Hat under a new license, that I have copied below 
> > for your reference:
> > 
> > //####ECOSGPLCOPYRIGHTBEGIN####
> > // -------------------------------------------
> > // 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 version.
> > //
> > // 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 License.
> > //
> > // 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.
> > // at http://sources.redhat.com/ecos/ecos-license/
> > // -------------------------------------------
> > //####ECOSGPLCOPYRIGHTEND####
> > 
> > To my review, this would qualify the license on eCos 2.0 as a "Free Software"
> > license, compatible with Free Software, but with a weak Copyleft.
> >                          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >                          GNU GPL
> > 
> > In a recent discussion on the matter on the ecos-discuss mailing list, I 
> > posted the statement below (http://sources.redhat.com/ml/ecos-discuss/2002-09/).
> > The whole discussion started around the issue or Copyright Assignment to 
> > Red Hat (http://sources.redhat.com/ml/ecos-discuss/2002-09/msg00302.html)
> > that set-off a debate on this and the eCos 2.0 license. This is now continued
> > under the thread 
> > (http://sources.redhat.com/ml/ecos-discuss/2002-09/msg00398.html):
> > 
> >  "The ECOS 2.0 license also allows for proprietary applications, linked with
> >   eCos as a library. This is exactly the point of the modifications of the
> >   ECOS 2.0 license with respect to GPL: of cleary defining and limiting the
> >   scope of Copyleft. A universal advantage of the _clear definition_, is that
> >   it avoids some potential discussions over the "whole work" concept as
> >   worded in the GPL. The mention to not being allowed to link from a non-GPL
> >   work to a GPL library is only mentioned as a comment on the end, that points
> >   to the LGPL license that could be used if that is your intention. The base
> >   concept that is named in article 2 of GPL 2.0 is much more general in the
> >   sense that, if some part of the "whole work" was received under a GPL
> >   license, the whole work can only be redistributed as GPL.
> > 
> >   From the GPL 2.0 license:
> >   
> >     These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole.  If
> >     identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program,
> >     and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
> >     themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those
> >     sections when you distribute them as separate works.  But when you
> >     distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based
> >     on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of
> >     this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the
> >     entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote
> >     it.
> > 
> >   The _limitation_ of the scope of Copyleft in the ECOS 2.0 license to not
> >   include others works through linking, is not a general advantage, but
> >   a deliberate "political" choice, to allow practical commercial use of eCos.
> >   Some people will be in favor, others will object it, based on political
> >   views of how "Free Software" should be promoted best. My personal view
> >   (for what its worth), is that in this context of embedded systems, the
> >   ECOS 2.0 license makes a lot of sense."
> > 
> > I you wish to reply to the ecos-discussion list, with your review of the
> > eCos 2.0 license, the address is: ecos-discuss@sources.redhat.com
> > 
> > Sincerely,
> > 
> > Peter Vandenabeele
> > Mind (http://mind.be)
> > ----

[...]

> -- 
> -Dave "Novalis" Turner
> Free Software Licensing Guru
> Support my work: http://svcs.affero.net/rm.php?r=novalis&p=FSF
> 
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> Activists-ael mailing list
> Activists-ael@ael.be
> http://www.ael.be/mailman/listinfo/activists-ael
> 
-- 
Mind: Embedded Linux, eCos and JVM Development in Europe
Mind (http://mind.be)              tel:  +32-16-30.96.66

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