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Re: ecos, eCosCentric and the rest of the world

On Fri, 2004-02-20 at 06:52, Dirk <> wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm a little worried reading that more and more features that are 
> developed for ecos by eCosCentric are only available in the eCosPro 
> Developer's Kit.
> For sure eCosCentric is the main engine of ecos development. If they 
> decide to make the latest developments proprietary, ecos will get poorer 
> and poorer, while it could gain lots of attractivity if those developments
> were fed back to the community.
> eCosCentric lives from offering services for ecos developers. That's fair. 
> But constructing their own "super-ecos" for paying customers is not quite 
> a good idea in my opinion. You get two classes of developers: those who pay 
> and the rest of the community. And one party gets the good sources and the 
> other party gets the poor ones, while eCosCentric still takes profit from 
> the community. And that is not fair in my opinion. If that is what eCosCentric 
> is planning, the GPL part of ecos will die. That would be very sad.
> For sure there are special developments for special eCosCentric customers, 
> that cannont be fed back to the community because of copyright issues and 
> nondisclosure agreements. But those also cannot be made available in the 
> eCosPro Developer's Kit.
> So I have a dream. All ecos sources are available for the community again. 
> ecos gets better and better, lots of developers use it. And eCosCentric lives 
> in great wealth form offering consulting and training.
> But maybe that's just a dream.

These are well articulated concerns, but I would beg to differ with you 
on most of your points.

Firstly, while eCosCentric is a significant player in eCos development, 
it is by no means the only one.  Myself and many others have and 
continue to make major contributions to eCos and further its 

As for the policy of making improvements, building new infrastructure, 
etc, for paying customers which are held back from the public, this is
common practice and in many cases the only process by which much of the
work gets done.  It's always been this way!  For example, did you know
that RedBoot was developed for a [Red Hat] customer and only made 
available to them initially?  Part of the plan was that they would have
such initial access, followed by public access within a certain time
period.  That [relatively] short time period passed and RedBoot became
public. Virtually every other component in eCos has shared this 
heritage.  You [on the outside] don't know it because you weren't privy
to those components when they were still private.

As for the GPL dying - again I disagree.  The GPL is what will keep 
things from ever going totally proprietary.  Sure, some pieces of code
may be developed which cannot be published, but those will have to be
kept separate from eCos anyway or the GPL would require their exposure.

As for your argument about those who pay and those who do not, I fear
I have little sympathy.  I make my *entire living*, as do my colleagues
at eCosCentric, by providing support and consulting on eCos.  I am much
more inclined to help those that are willing to pay than those that do
not.  On the other hand, I am also more than willing to share what I
can to the community freely.  The fact that I can get paid for this,
in support of certain customers, allows me the ability to share what I
can with the public.


Finally, please, let's not turn this into a major debate (firefight).
We all have our jobs to do and, hopefully, we do them to the best of
our ability.  If that means that some pay for access and others get
by without, so be it.

Gary Thomas <>
MLB Associates

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