Re: Req: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education

Walter Banks wrote:
Dominic wrote:

Source code from silicon vendors is often a horrible example as far as
licensing is concerned. What good is sample code that states in its
header that all rights are reserved, without a license telling me what
I'm allowed to do?

Ask them. I am not being sarcastic. Not all software is or should be
in the public domain. There are companies like silicon companies
that invest a a lot in the development and support software of the
products they sell. They are doing that because without some form
of return they cannot afford to invest in new technology of take
many of the risks on low return from products. They don't want to
give their development costs away.

That was a direct reply to what Chris said about non-FOSS software that is
still free and could be used in a teaching context. They are of course free
to license their software in which way they want, but source code that
comes without any license telling me what to do or not is useless. Having
asked silicon vendors on both technical and legal matters I found it hard
enough to get answers to technical things, let alone on legal stuff. I
doubt it would be much of a problem to put a LICENSE[.txt if needed] into
the archive that tells me what they want me to do with that software and
what not.

What makes this situation worse is example code for silicon vendor X's
chip written by compiler manufacturer Y, often with headers stating that
you can only use this code within Y's development environment.

The choice is obvious comply or don't use the code.

The real question is if I want to make a living developing innovative
software and the software is put in the public domain for free how
do I eat? Does it become a question of doing the innovation or
doing something else? If that is the case then development tools
are doomed to eventually all look like what GCC has become,
old technology.

The software technology we develop is for sale it is the only thing
that we do. Our customers share in the cost of this innovation by
spending a few man days equivalent for a copy of it. The companies
and individuals who determine that a copy of the new technology
will benefit them more than they pay for it are our customers.

The problem is that a user who writes software for some product using
example code that is bound by these license terms is locked into using Y's
development environment. For a user who's aware of this problem, the
recommendation to look at non-FOSS code that's bound by such restrictions
isn't much of an option.

I couldn't find anything definitive on uc/OS-II licensing. The website
says that you should contact Micrium for licensing information, the
source code download is equally sparse on details.
The website further says that educational use doesn't require a license,
but I wouldn't know for sure what I'm allowed to do with it and what not.

Call or email Jean Labrosse directly for licensing information on
licenses if you want to use uc/OS-II some something other than
educational use. Make a choice after you have all the relevant
information you need.

Again, my point was just that including information on the licensing
somewhere easily accessible isn't asking too much.
An exceptionally good example is FreeRTOS. The "License and Warranty" page
clearly lists your options for licensing the software, and explains the
implications of these choices.

Well, of course someone has to write that software - but in most cases
these people benefit from the work others have done. Chances are they're
using a lot more free software they didn't write than what they're going
to write themself. Isn't software great? Once written everyone can use
it, if you give them right to do so... And if you're doing it right, no
one's going to take that code and run with it, making money from your
work without giving back.

I am not sure what the last sentence means in the context
of the paragraph.

The "it" that you could do "right" is "give them [the] right", i.e. the
licensing, and choosing which license to use. I was referring to the
difference between placing software in the public domain and using a free
software license that asks users of your code to give others the same
rights they were given.


There's certainly a place for both free and proprietary software.
But I replied to someone who stated that FOSS wouldn't be the right choice
in the OP's teaching context - which in my opinion is just plain wrong. I
pointed out the shortcomings of some of the alternatives he offered, and
tried to show that his concerns about FOSS ain't that much of a problem in
the OP's context.