[ECOS] ecos license question.

Fabrice Gautier Fabrice_Gautier@sdesigns.com
Fri Jan 17 20:29:00 GMT 2003

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jonathan Larmour [mailto:jifl@eCosCentric.com]
> Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2003 3:25 PM
> To: Fabrice Gautier
> Cc: ecos-discuss@sources.redhat.com
> Subject: Re: [ECOS] ecos license question.
> Fabrice Gautier wrote:
> > 
> > True, but it still unclear to me how the current eCos 
> > license applies to Redboot as well. At least the GPL
> > name in the license is confusing me.
> I dare say that's because you have a preconception about what GPLing 
> implies :-).

The preconception I have i guess is that GPL does not fit embedded OSes very
well, (that why it was changed in eCos)
> In general the law would consider what would be "reasonable".

Actually, judges and jury would consider that, based on their own
interpretation of the applicable law. Laws and judges are different
everywhere. In addition eCos has code from many differents copyrights
holder, each one with differents interpretation of the License. 

And there is no way for someone to be sure that what he is doing is allowed.
So there is a slight chance that someone will sue you because he disagrees
with you own interpretation, or maybe just because it doesnt like you and
see he as a slight chance of winning. I guess people are pretty reasonnable
about sueing other people in the UK, but in the US it is another matter...

> I think our fundamental disagreement here is that allowing 
> people a little more freedom to use the code isn't
> necessarily a bad thing. We just want the benefits of the
> improvements to that code.

I think you misunderstand me, I _do_ think that allowing more freedom is a
_very_ good thing. And I do think that the current license is very good when
_I_ (and i guess you) interprets it. But I'm no lawyer, and even lawyers are
no judge.

What I see is that there are three goals for the license:
1./ Allowing people to use eCos in proprietary products
2./ Keeping improvment to the eCos base source code open source
3./ Allowing people to use ecos with GPL code

But... You cannot achieve 1 and 3 at the same time, so basically the license
say you can do 1 if you can respect 2. OR you can do 3 which imply 2.

So there are in fact to very distincts situations. One for fully GPLed
applications, one for proprietary applications. I strongly think that having
two distinct licenses two reflect those 2 situations, is far less confusing
that the current scheme, I dont see how it could be harder to enforce, I
dare to say most people would understand it better since there are already a
few projects with the dual licenses. MPL and GPL have been around for a
while, their interpretations are  better known, and their eventual flaws
also are well known, (although I believe no judges has ever given a decision
about them).

> Enforcement was a real problem. Many people had been writing 
> new ports, new changes etc. and not making their changes available.
> It wasn't tenable.

Just to be clear, under the current license, you have to make your changes
available only to the people you distribute them right?

If RedHat was not able to enfore the MPL, I dont know how anyone will be
able to enforce the current license. I dont think just using the name GPL
will make people more conscious about what they do, probably they will be
just more scared.

> By nailing our colours to the GPL mast it will be much more
> recognisable to users that this is an open source licence.

I still dont see this as an argument against dual license.

I think the only argument I saw against a dual GPL/MPL would be the
complexity (which I dont buy) but I'm sure there are other arguments, are
there ?


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