[ECOS] ecos license question.

Jonathan Larmour jifl@eCosCentric.com
Thu Jan 16 17:42:00 GMT 2003

Fabrice Gautier wrote:
> Basically the exception says that you can link non-GPL code with eCos code
> right.  So basically this is even weaker than LGPL, because
> 1./ You dont have to enable the user to relink you code with newer version
> of eCos (by providing the object files)

Yes the LGPL was seriously considered, and at one point it was the 
favoured choice. But after some debate, it was considered too onerous... 
we didn't want standard application developers just using eCos in the 
normal way to have to provide separately linkable images. Indeed we 
considered that would substantially detract from eCos's appeal in the view 
of large companies. We didn't want that.

But we do want anything based on eCos itself to be made open so that other 

Also it's not clear when you read the LGPL how well it would apply if 
RedBoot was LGPL'd. They may have changed "Library" to "Lesser" but it's 
still a libraries licence!

> 2./ You can modify the behaviour of existing eCos code by adding hooks in
> eCos code and calling your own proprietary functions with those hooks.

Actually, according to the FSF under legal advice, not really. This has 
come up before in the context of the LGPL. It is not a sufficiently 
separate work. It's a grey area: if you separated it with a sufficiently 
generic API, then it _would_ be a separate work! Yes, these types of 
things are where lawyers make their money :-|.

> MPL seems to be the license i know that ressemble the most this eCos
> license. I still dont get understand why this is called "GPL with exception"
> when the exception destroy most of the spirit of GPL...

But is incompatible with GPL code, a key aim with the licence change.

> What would be the difference if eCos was released under MPL ?

The RHEPL from before was effectively the MPL with the names changed. Note 
that it's very unlikely that eCos's licence would ever be changed now, 
unless there was some specific legal problem.

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