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Re: eCos License questions

On 17/01/11 20:45, Richard Rauch wrote:
I have some questions about the eCos license model.

What I'm about to say here is my view and not formal legal advice; if at all unsure, you should secure professional advice in your own jurisdiction.

1. Which code is covered from the eCos License?

Within eCos, every file is expected to declare its own license. (This is common practice in the open-source world.) Most of the files in the public repository are covered by the eCos License, but there are a small number of exceptions (e.g. net/bsd_tcpip/* which is BSD licensed).

But how drivers for special hardware must be handled, which are using only
the driver interface of eCos, but do not include any code from the
Is such a driver part of eCos and must be made available or is it allowed to
handle it like an application, which we do not have to distribute?

The exception clause in the eCos license explicitly does not "infect" any code linked with it. This applies to the interface (header files) as well as to the source. In other words, the situation for such special drivers is the same as for applications: provided they do not count as derivative works of eCos source, they would remain under the copyright holder's choice of license.

2. How to distribute source code?
If some sourcecode must be made available, how we have to do this? Should
the code always be contributed to the eCos Community (eCos Maintainers) or
is it sufficient to keep the source code and deliver it to a interested
client on demand?

I can't speak for the maintainers, but as a member of the community I would always prefer to see contributions and patches which enhance eCos to be posted - however, strictly speaking, there is no obligation to do so.

The requirement from the GPL is to either deliver the relevant source code along with the object code, to allow it to be downloaded at the same time, or to make a written offer to provide a physical copy on request. See GPL v2 clause 3, or GPL v3 clause 6, for details.

3. Who has to make the source code available?

Anybody who distributes a Covered Work is obliged to comply with the license when they do so. Exactly what this means for you depends on the agreement you have with your customer over who holds copyright on the work. It is likely that your company would have to make the relevant source code available to your customer, and if your customer were to redistribute it they would in turn have to make the source code available.


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