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Author Topic: Arduino license in commercial products  (Read 1516 times)
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I was reading the FAQ on the licensing. I am familiar with open-source software but it's not clear to me how this relates to hardware.

From my reading the FAQ:
http://arduino.cc/en/Main/FAQ (Can I build a commercial product based on Arduino?)

Hardware
1. Including an arduino board in your product, requires no hardware disclosure
2. Designing a board based off of the arduino eagle files (this seems extremely vague?)
requires you to release your board design

Software
2. If you alter the core or library files, you must release that code you changed
3. If you use the core or library files, you must release linkable object files for relinking the firmware to newer versions of arduino core & libraries

So, if you wanted to release a commercial product without easily allowing someone to reproduce it, wouldn't you create a separate board that has some unknown custom chip or other undocumented pecularity that needs to talk to the arduino over some interconnect?

You could then release the object files, but without reverse-engineering the separate board you wouldn't be able to duplicate it easily.

I was kind of surprised that you only needed to release object files for the firmware but not the actual code.

Are there any examples of arduino in a more ordinary product, not one that is intended to be used by the arduino community?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 02:14:59 pm by oscarcar » Logged

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First, as with any legal advice, it is generally better to ask a lawyer.  However, since this is the Internet I'm going to say what I think anyway.  :-D

Quote
2. Designing a board based off of the arduino eagle files (this seems extremely vague?)
requires you to release your board design
Your sentence is more vague than the actual statement in the FAQ.  From the FAQ, I added emphasis:  "Deriving the design of a commercial product from the Eagle files for an Arduino board requires you to release the modified files under the same Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license."

Keep in mind, either of these statements would be difficult to defend on legality due to definitions:
1.  Derive and Design are different. 
2.  This statement specifically calls out "the Eagle Files".  What is less clear is, what if I "derive" a design from the PDF of the schematic?
3.  "Arduino board" isn't really a defined term. 

I believe the intent of this section was to keep Arduino-based derivatives open.  For example, Seeedstudio makes variants which are still open (you can download their Eagle files.)

In my opinion, I don't think this section specifically applies to a product that is ATmega328-based.  I make the distinction because "Arduino" is typically defined as a prototype platform.  So when you make a final product are you going to start with the Arduino Uno schematic?  Or are you going to design your hardware and add a ATmega328?  I think that's the difference between Derive and Design.

All that said, you must read the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license and LPGL to determine what applies to the work you are doing...
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Quote
All that said, you must read the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license and LPGL to determine what applies to the work you are doing...

And "GNU GPL v2"...
http://code.google.com/p/arduino/
..."Code license" on the left side.
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