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LQFP112 - Up with the play

Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 4:17 pm
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Location: Shrewsbury PA
Right now EMStudio is GPLv2. I am fairly certain I will be switching BSD 3-Clause license: http://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause

The reason for this is because I would like to release a closed source megasquirt plugin at some point in the future, and to do so would require either signed consent of all of the contributors for me to package up EMStudio with a closed source binary, or to change to a more permissive license.

This being said, several key things I feel need to be said.
* Both EMStudio and the FreeEMS part of it is, and ALWAYS will be fully functional, open source, and free. There will NEVER be any limits or restrictions placed on functionality of EMStudio's core, or the FreeEMS plugin.
* Any coded benefit that comes to the core code from any closed source plugins will also be released as part of EMStudio, even if the plugin itself is not.
* All copyright will be maintained, and proper credit given as per the license for past and future contributions.

Right now there are only two people who have contributed to EMStudio including me, so this change should be fairly easy unless the other contributor gives me issues.

Does anyone have any major objections to this, or questions about my motives?

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:56 am
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Unless my memory is failing me, I think you'll find that "your other contributor's" (my) contributions were not legally significant.

http://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/html_n ... icant.html

Having said that, are you sure you want to make it BSD? If you do that, it's not just you that will be able to add cool features and re-brand it and sell it as a binary product with no source. I'm fairly certain that that would upset you if you found it happening, despite being legal. Hell, I'd probably be angry on your behalf if that happened :-) This feeling is why people tend to prefer to contribute to GPL stuff (time-proven fact).

On the other hand, I have absolutely zero problem with you using your work for your benefit at the same time as benefiting all of us by having done it in the first place and I'm happy to formalise that if you want. Let's have a chat about EMStudio licensing options on skype again soon to discuss.

As far as others, I doubt anyone would care, unless they intended to contribute. Essentially a permissive license is more free (libre) than a copyleft license, so it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other to most people.

Fred.

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:07 am
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malcom2073 wrote:
* Both EMStudio and the FreeEMS part of it is, and ALWAYS will be fully functional, open source, and free. There will NEVER be any limits or restrictions placed on functionality of EMStudio's core, or the FreeEMS plugin.

This is my point above. While you may give us your word, and I believe you, and trust you, that you'll not do that; once you switch, others can, and you can not stop them, nor give the guarantee above without qualifying it as being "those parts within your control".

Fred.

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FreeEMS dev diary and its comments thread and my turbo truck!
n00bs, do NOT PM or email tech questions! Use the forum!
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Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:10 am
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LQFP112 - Up with the play

Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 4:17 pm
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Fred wrote:
If you do that, it's not just you that will be able to add cool features and re-brand it and sell it as a binary product with no source. I'm fairly certain that that would upset you if you found it happening, despite being legal. Hell, I'd probably be angry on your behalf if that happened :-) This feeling is why people tend to prefer to contribute to GPL stuff (time-proven fact).



I feel that EMStudio is getting to the point where it is complex enough, that if someone were to take it and try to sell it, they'd be screwed and have a faulty unsupportable product, since it would take a significant amount of time and effort to get spun up on how EMStudio works. Plus as long as I keep releasing features, they'll have to keep playing catchup. If people don't want to contribute because of this possibility, thats their call. I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:07 pm
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LQFP112 - Up with the play
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While the BSD license is more free than the GPL, I think the GPL
is more useful in the context of promoting free software, at
least from the perspective of someone actually creating software.

A binary plug-in is not necessarily something that would violate
the GPL. It is possible to load proprietary binary modules into
the Linux kernel within the permissions of the license, for
instance. Linus does not make this easy, by refusing to nail down
the ABI, but it is done none the less.

You could add a clause specifically permitting the practice if
you intended to provide support that was compiled in, it's your
software to license after all.

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Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:54 am
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Good points, Sim! Here's an interesting read on the subject:

http://lkml.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux ... /0670.html

So if you make the interface (header file in your case) be licensed in
some external way (permissive or proprietary but gratis), and use that
header file in your project as a resource, then plugins can also use that
header file under its license, and you can load them due to the interface
being the same. I already thought this was true, but it's nice to see it
confirmed by someone intimately familiar with the subject.

Fred.

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n00bs, do NOT PM or email tech questions! Use the forum!
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Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:14 am
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LQFP112 - Up with the play

Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 4:17 pm
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Quote:
So being a module is not a sign of not being a derived work. It's just one sign that _maybe_ it might have other arguments for why it isn't derived.


That isn't reassuring in the slightest.

Quote:
anything that was written with Linux in mind (whether it then _also_ works on other operating systems or not) is clearly partially a derived work.


A plugin is written with EMStudio in mind, and works only with the internals of EMStudio... so how do you figure that it's ok as long as I dual license a header file? The header file doesn't fall under the "standard system interfaces" exception either, since it's in no way standard, it's a custom thing.

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Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:21 pm
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LQFP112 - Up with the play

Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 4:17 pm
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Found this:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins

Quote:
If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function calls to each other and share data structures, we believe they form a single program, which must be treated as an extension of both the main program and the plug-ins. This means the plug-ins must be released under the GPL or a GPL-compatible free software license, and that the terms of the GPL must be followed when those plug-ins are distributed.


Quote:
If the program dynamically links plug-ins, but the communication between them is limited to invoking the ‘main’ function of the plug-in with some options and waiting for it to return, that is a borderline case.



I am most certainly not that edge case, I am the first case. A runtime loaded plugin is considered dynamically linked, and does indeed share memory and data structures with the main program.

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Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:24 pm
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Just add the exception, then. Done.

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FreeEMS dev diary and its comments thread and my turbo truck!
n00bs, do NOT PM or email tech questions! Use the forum!
The ever growing list of FreeEMS success stories!


Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:37 pm
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DIP8 - Involved

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:35 pm
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With this new license, we can do a daughterboard to plug in MS 40 pin socket 2.2 board?


Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:55 pm
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