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Topic: General licensing question.... (Read 2263 times) previous topic - next topic


"GPL" usually means your source code would also need to open.

"LGPL" is a special license for libraries that theoretically allows open source libraries to be used with close source applications.  But it gets pretty ambiguous when it comes to embedded hardware, because you're supposed to distribute your close source binaries in a way that permits them to be re-linked with newer versions of the library.  Which is reasonable on a desktop or server with dynamically loaded libraries with a high degree of standardization, but is a bit difficult if you have just a chip.

BSD and MIT licenses are more "well known" to be more flexible, with varying degrees of needing to credit the original author.

There may be issues with Version 3 specifically of the GPL/LGPL licenses.  At least according the legal department of the last place I worked.

People have been known to slap a license on their code without understanding what it actually means.  You ask, and they say "oh sure, you can do that", when the license they've picked very explicitly says something different.  Other people are very careful about this (there's at 

Arduino has stated that the core libraries (which are mostly LGPL) are allowed to be used in proprietary products, and I don't think that they've offered clarification of the "linkability" issue.  But IMO, a clear statement of intent beats the actual license on most days.  (An actual lawyer may disagree.)

Libraries "owner" by a particular author are relatively clear.  The fun comes when something has more than one major contributor.  (V.42bis, the modem compression protocol, required separate (patent) licenses from three different companies.  It was very annoying.)


But IMO, a clear statement of intent beats the actual license on most days. 
Only if the person making the statement has the authority to do so.

There is also the interesting question whether an authoritative formal statement like that would make the entire licence invalid and irrelevant for everyone. Or, maybe that potential problem means that nobody has the authority to change a terms of a licence without formally re-writing the licence.

Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.


Ohh, alright, thanks for the clarification @westfw, that makes a bit more sense for sure. In all likelihood I can (and will) just make it open source, just to avoid any issues.

Luckily the person who gave me permission to use his library when I asked is someone who is synonymous with the library itself, so I'll take that as fairly credible :P

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