[ECOS] Project ideas for graduate course

Klaas Gadeyne klaas.gadeyne@fmtc.be
Thu Aug 2 11:39:00 GMT 2007


On Wed, 1 Aug 2007, Andrew Lunn wrote:
>> Even _without_ all the license issues that would be a good thing.
>> However, when we first implemented EML, the EtherCAT people were still
>> working on conformance testing.
>
> Is that now finished? Is it time for version 0.2 of the code with
> extra conformance testing?

It's been a while since I've worked on the code, but as far as I
understand from
<http://www.ethercat.org/default.asp?en/conformance.html>, the
conformance "testtool" is a (windows only) tool for testing
conformance of EtherCAT _slave_ devices only (while EML implements a master
device).

>> Also note that the extra clause is an agreement between Beckhoff and
>> the licensee (and FMTC has nothing to do with that agreement), that
>> "protects" the licensee from patent claims covering the EtherCAT
>> technology.
>
> Maybe GPLv3 is the solution. That includes patent protection as far as
> i understand.

I've had a look at it, but I didn't understand it quite wel :-( (IANAL
:-).  The patent protection cases they described seemed to be
referring to companies releasing OSS covered by patents they've
possessed themselves.  And then there is the MS/Novell deal which
might be similar to our case, but
- I don't know what the "mistakes" were MS made while making the deal
   which led to GPLv3
- We don't really have a _deal_ with the people at Beckhoff.

As a IANAL conclusion, and I can only speak for myself: IMO the
intention of the people at Beckhoff is not to hinder (at all) the
spreading of (modified versions) of open source implementations of
EtherCAT master functionality, so one shouldn't be too scared being
sued as long as one (tries to) follow the standard.

Whether the license agreement is the best way to achieve that, I
really don't know (and even less after this thread), but the lawyers
at Beckhoff seem to have thought so...

Anyway, thanks a lot for your comments!

Klaas

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