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Origins of Common/drivers/LuminaryMicro...

Posted by Stuart Longland on January 6, 2010
Hi all,

We've recently obtained a Stellaris LM3S8962 evaluation kit for use with an electric vehicle project, and at this stage, I'm looking into options for developing the controller firmware. One possibility is to base the code on FreeRTOS. The end product would link some proprietary code we've written with FreeRTOS -- I understand that so long as we publish the modifications to FreeRTOS and make it clear that the project is FreeRTOS-based, this is acceptable. There's a few concirns however that I have regarding the libdriver.a and libgr.a files...

Does anyone happen to know where these files came from? To me they are binary blobs that seem to have mystically appeared in the FreeRTOS codebase. They look like they come from the StellarisWare package, but I'm unsure. Wouldn't it be better to distribute the sources for these files?

There's an EULA distributed with them, not being a lawyer, my legalese is very scratchy indeed. I can't seem to quite make out what is being said, but they mention something about it not being permitted to combine their code (which I presume to mean in either source or binary form) with what they call "viral open-source" software (and they give the example, GPL-licensed software as being in this category).

Does this mean TI/Luminary Micro's license is broken by linking their libraries with FreeRTOS since FreeRTOS is GPL?

I'm looking at writing my own library to do this (just purely based on the LM3S8962 datasheet) to get around this issue... and if I get that up and running, I may be able to contribute that as a fully GPL port to the FreeRTOS project. Is there any interest in replacing this code with a less restrictive alternative?

Regards,
Stuart Longland

RE: Origins of Common/drivers/LuminaryMicro...

Posted by Richard on January 6, 2010
The files are just pre-built binaries of the StellarisWare drivers - which I have permission to distribute.

The original StellarisWare license did not mention anything about linking with open source code. When that clause was put in I talked to Luminary management about it and it was agreed that it was fine to link the FreeRTOS code with StellarisWare because FreeRTOS is not viral. FreeRTOS is not actually distributed under a GPL license (which is viral) but a *modified* GPL license where the modification removes the virility (is that a word?) for exactly this reason.

Regards.

RE: Origins of Common/drivers/LuminaryMicro...

Posted by Richard on January 6, 2010
In addition to my previous post - also be aware that there are various different revisions of the LMI eval hardware, which all seem to use different displays and therefore require different display drivers. You may need to get the latest display driver out of the latest StellarisWare package (from the LMI WEB site) to get the display working.

Regards.

RE: Origins of Common/drivers/LuminaryMicro...

Posted by Stuart Longland on January 7, 2010
Ahh okay... fair enough then.

The display on the unit I have worked in FreeRTOS straight away, so I guess I just happened to score pot luck on that front. The unit I have here came with the CodeSourcery toolchain, not that this should make much difference hardware wise.

I'll still keep tinkering with replacing the StellarisWare package with something more open... at the moment my workplace has bought one of these controllers for an electric vehicle project, but I may buy one for my own personal tinkering since they look like fun. :-) So this might be a homebrew persuit... and I can contribute patches if there is any interest.

Regards,
Stuart Longland


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