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GPL License Compatibility CORTEX_LM3S Port?

Posted by Alexander Pärsch on December 18, 2008
Hello,

I looked at the example code for CORTEX_ML3S series boards. There are some files provided by Luminary Micro that state that:

You may not combine this software with "viral" open-source software in order to form a larger program.

Does that mean if I use that FreeRTOS port I am not allowed to release my code under the GPL?
Is FreeRTOS license (GPL with exception) a "viral" open-source software?

I want to work with this FreeRTOS port and provide my resulting program under the GPL so I'm a little bit confused.

Thanks,

Alex

Full license text from FreeRTOS\Demo\Common\drivers\LuminaryMicro\ethernet.h:

// Copyright (c) 2006-2008 Luminary Micro, Inc. All rights reserved.
//
// Software License Agreement
//
// Luminary Micro, Inc. (LMI) is supplying this software for use solely and
// exclusively on LMI's microcontroller products.
//
// The software is owned by LMI and/or its suppliers, and is protected under
// applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved. You may not combine
// this software with "viral" open-source software in order to form a larger
// program. Any use in violation of the foregoing restrictions may subject
// the user to criminal sanctions under applicable laws, as well as to civil
// liability for the breach of the terms and conditions of this license.
//
// THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS". NO WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED
// OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
// MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE APPLY TO THIS SOFTWARE.
// LMI SHALL NOT, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BE LIABLE FOR SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR
// CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER.
//
// This is part of revision 2523 of the Stellaris Peripheral Driver Library.

RE: GPL License Compatibility CORTEX_LM3S Port?

Posted by Richard on December 18, 2008
I have previously asked Luminary Micro for a clarification on this point. What it means is you must not provide your code under an open source license that could cause the Luminary Micro libraries to also be covered by that license. It is my understanding that if you are providing your software as source code then this could not happen. If you are providing your software as a statically linked binary under a GPL like license then everything in the binary would be covered by the GPL (the exception in the FreeRTOS license is there to prevent this, so this is NOT true for FreeRTOS binaries).

Please do not take this as any form of legal advice, just a statement of my personal understanding. You best approach is to contact somebody from Luminary Micro to explain your intention and ensure you are not doing anything that would breach their license terms. I think you will find Luminary to be co-operative.

Regards.


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