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From: Gary Thomas <>
Cc: eCos Maintainers <>
Subject: Re: Arcom GPL violation?
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 15:04:00 -0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <1107183676.18185.20.camel@hermes> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

Note: this is really a topic for the eCos maintainers (of which I am
included), so I've cc'd them to this reply. (sorry for the duplication)

On Mon, 2005-01-31 at 14:43 +0000, CLUGSTON wrote:
> Dear Gary,
> I have purchased a VIPER board from Arcom UK that came pre-flashed 
> with Redboot. There was a problem with the Flash which ment in the 
> end that I had to return the board, but this problem lead me to inquire 
> after the source code for Redboot. It turns out that they wanted £100 
> or about $180 USD for a 'Reboot Development' CD-Rom. I explained that 
> by my understanding of the GPL that there where obliged to make the 
> modifications available to anyone, especially anyone who has payed 
> for a board with it embedded into it. They said that their engineers 
> had spent the time making it unique to the Viper and therefore they 
> have to charge for it.
> Can you give me any clarification on whether or not they are allowed 
> to do this or not before I purchase the CD?
> Sorry for the direct email, but I didn't want to disscuss this on the 
> mailing list. I have included below a section of a similar discussion 
> from the list about 18mths ago that there was no follow up to.

This is definitely *not* allowed under the GPL.  They can charge you a
fee, but only to the limit of what it costs them to produce the sources
on a distribution medium.  From section 3 of GPL (rev 2):

  3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

    a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
    source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
    1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
    years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
    cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
    machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
    distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
    customarily used for software interchange; or,

    c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer
    to distribute corresponding source code.  (This alternative is
    allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you
    received the program in object code or executable form with such
    an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

> Thanks for any information you can offer.

I don't know how you can push them on this though.  Perhaps the other
maintainers can make some suggestions.

Note: you should have also received the full sources to their Linux port
if they distributed that as part of the product.

> Steven Clugston
> ********************************************************
> I recently acquired a development kit pre-loaded with RedBoot and Linux from Arcom.
> I recently e-mailed their support line requesting for the following files:
> redboot_RAM_ALTMAP.ecm
> redboot_ROM_ALTMAP.ecm
> redboot_RAM.ecm
> redboot_ROM.ecm
> Is this a good way to start? Are there any other configuration type files that are used when building RedBoot?
> Actually, because of the GPL they should be willing to give you the
> entire tree for their port (which will be many more files than this).
> Gary means that if they ship Redboot with their product, the GPL obliges
> them to provide you at least with a patch against the public
> ecos/redboot sources that contains the modifications that were necessary
> to get it running on that particular board. Just ask them!

Gary Thomas                 |  Consulting for the
MLB Associates              |    Embedded world

       reply	other threads:[~2005-01-31 15:04 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 5+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
     [not found] <>
2005-01-31 15:04 ` Gary Thomas [this message]
2005-01-31 16:27   ` Jonathan Larmour
2005-01-31 15:15 CLUGSTON
2005-01-31 17:28 CLUGSTON
2005-01-31 18:29 ` Jonathan Larmour

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