[ECOS] Project ideas for graduate course

Klaas Gadeyne klaas.gadeyne@fmtc.be
Tue Jul 31 12:36:00 GMT 2007

Hi Andrew,

On Tue, 31 Jul 2007, Andrew Lunn wrote:
>>> IANAL, but i would want to take a close look at the license agreement
>>> before using this software.
>> Me neither, but put in human words, the license agreement is there to
>> ensure 'derived software' (as defined in GPL) stays compatible with
>> the (open) EtherCAT standard and assures you won't suffer from patent
>> claims in case it does.
>>> Also, it is GPL, which is probably not what you want.
>> Who do you mean with 'you'? - IIRC the OP was asking for ideas for projects
>> to be conducted by
>> graduate students, so I don't see why they would object agains the GPL.
>> - We (FMTC) wrote and open sourced the code
>> - As stated on the website, interested companies wishing to use this
>>   for closed products can obtain a LGPL version against a license fee.
> I mean "you" as in anybody wishing to use eCos and EtherCat. The
> problem is that it forces the application to be GPL. Most uses of eCos
> are in commercial products. Having eCos use "GPL+exception" is
> O.K. because it does not force the application to be
> GPL+exception. That is what the exception is for. The application,
> which contains all the IP, can remain closed. However once you make
> use of this GPL code, your application becomes GPL and you have to
> give the sources away. Most people using eCos would not like this.
> How many open source eCos applications do you know of?
> Close source application then need to use the LGPL version. However,
> this i don't understand. Since it is LGPL, what is to stop a customer
> buying the LGPL version and then distribute the sources under LGPL? It
> seems like to me, if you are selling a version for closed source
> applications you would use a closed source license to stop it being
> redistributed.

I'm not sure (again :-) what you mean by "customer":
- a customer of FMTC that wants to sell a (closed source) product
   based on eCos + EML pays a licence fee to FMTC, obtains a LGPL
   version of EML and can create a closed source product, right?  If
   they want, they can modify the EML code [Let's call this customer

   Note: the LGPL version is exactly the same codebase, only provided a
   with a different license.  That code is "in the open" anyway with a
   GPL license, so why would we object against CustomerFoo
   redistributing the code.

- a customer of CustomerFoo buys a closed source product.  That's it.

> The GPL code is also licensed under another license at the same time
> as being GPL. This i don't understand. How can it be GPL and something
> else at the same time. This is where i would want copyright lawyers to
> take a close look.

As I said, IANAL either :-), the exact "wording" from the license
comes from lawyers@beckhoff.  However, as I understand it (and that
was the spirit of the license), you can consider it exactly the same
mechanism as above where you state that eCos is licensed under GPL
_plus_ exception.  EML is GPL (or LGPL) + exception too, and the
exception says that derived code should be compliant with the EtherCAT
standard (in case you distribute/sell it, that is).  So you should
consider the 2 licences as being complementary, not being something


Before posting, please read the FAQ: http://ecos.sourceware.org/fom/ecos
and search the list archive: http://ecos.sourceware.org/ml/ecos-discuss

More information about the Ecos-discuss mailing list