Forums

Does Microchip play fast and loose with the GPL?

Started by Eric March 18, 2008
On Mar 19, 10:46 am, DJ Delorie <d...@delorie.com> wrote:

> Now, if a product came with a written note that said "we guarantee > that until 2011-Mar-19 you can download the sources for this product > from http://..." then that might satisfy 3(b) (one could argue that > they must provide them on the same media as the product itself, likely > a cd-rom) but the trick then is dating the offer.
The usual course is to provide the offer to provide it on physical media for a fee, but kind of implicitly suggest that it would be faster, cheaper, and easier for everyone if you just download it from their website. And most people choose that, unless they want to "test" the publisher or have really bad internet access.
On Mar 19, 10:46 am, DJ Delorie <d...@delorie.com> wrote:

>(one could argue that > they must provide them on the same media as the product itself
If that same media were actually the case, oh what fun... imagine a gig of sources provided on 200 + little SPI flashes... and you can charge for the cost of soldering them onto a board, programming, and then desoldering them and putting them back in a tube...
cs_posting@hotmail.com writes:
> If that same media were actually the case, oh what fun... imagine a > gig of sources provided on 200 + little SPI flashes... and you can > charge for the cost of soldering them onto a board, programming, and > then desoldering them and putting them back in a tube...
Well, yeah. The clause was put in because at the time, there was no ubiquitous web access, so the problem to be solved was keeping the distributor from shipping you a box of 1/2" tape reels when you only had a 1/4" tape drive, or shipping you a CD-ROM when you only had a floppy drive, or (these days) shipping you a floppy when you only have a CD-ROM drive. Or, back then, putting it on a web site when very few people had web access, and that was with a 14.4kb/s modem. These days, I think "cd-rom" is the default "customary media" - DVD isn't ubiquitous, and although web is popular, you can't guarantee it like you can USmail. IMHO if you usmail the binary, you should be prepared to USmail the sources. But back then the intention was "however they got the binaries, send the sources the same way". That was the only way to guarantee the sources were readable by the recipient.
Paul Curtis wrote:
> "Mike Silva" <snarflemike@yahoo.com> wrote in message >
... snip ...
>> >> I would think MIPS would be rather annoyed about this, assuming >> they make money on devices sold, not compilers sold. > > I think MIPS wouldn't have much to be grumpy about--I'm sure > Microchip coughed up the required license fee and didn't > guarantee a royalty revenue stream to MIPS.
FYI all software owned by GNU (which definitely includes gcc) is provided only under the GPL licence. This does not allow use (and release) of that software without releasing the source too. I.e. there is no such 'required license fee' available. Read the GPL license. -- [mail]: Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net) [page]: <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net> Try the download section. -- Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes:

> Paul Curtis wrote: >> "Mike Silva" <snarflemike@yahoo.com> wrote in message >> > ... snip ... >>> >>> I would think MIPS would be rather annoyed about this, assuming >>> they make money on devices sold, not compilers sold. >> >> I think MIPS wouldn't have much to be grumpy about--I'm sure >> Microchip coughed up the required license fee and didn't >> guarantee a royalty revenue stream to MIPS. > > FYI all software owned by GNU (which definitely includes gcc) is > provided only under the GPL licence. This does not allow use (and > release) of that software without releasing the source too. I.e. > there is no such 'required license fee' available. Read the GPL > license.
The license fee is for the the MIPS architecture itself. -- John Devereux
John Devereux wrote:
> CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes: >> Paul Curtis wrote: >>> "Mike Silva" <snarflemike@yahoo.com> wrote in message >>> >> ... snip ... >>>> >>>> I would think MIPS would be rather annoyed about this, assuming >>>> they make money on devices sold, not compilers sold. >>> >>> I think MIPS wouldn't have much to be grumpy about--I'm sure >>> Microchip coughed up the required license fee and didn't >>> guarantee a royalty revenue stream to MIPS. >> >> FYI all software owned by GNU (which definitely includes gcc) is >> provided only under the GPL licence. This does not allow use (and >> release) of that software without releasing the source too. I.e. >> there is no such 'required license fee' available. Read the GPL >> license. > > The license fee is for the the MIPS architecture itself.
Which doesn't affect the gcc situation. -- [mail]: Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net) [page]: <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net> Try the download section. -- Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
On Mar 18, 1:02=A0pm, DJ Delorie <d...@delorie.com> wrote:

> Having looked at their PIC24 gcc source code, the key is that they > call out to a license manager executable which determines the license. > If the LM says so, the code in gcc simply shuts off various -O and -f > options. =A0Rebuilding with that code disabled (the sources disable it > by default, but it's just a -D to turn it on) gives you a fully > functional compiler. =A0This is fine with the GPL.
Do you know offhand which define symbol this is? Some messages say the license checking is not in the compiler itself, but rather in the linker. I have looked around in the source but there's a lot of code there and I haven't found this license manager code yet. I agree that if they are distributing the license checking code then it would appear they aren't violating the GPL. Eric
Eric <englere_geo@yahoo.com> writes:
> Do you know offhand which define symbol this is?
It's in gcc/config/pic30/pic30.c. Look for LICENSE_MANAGER. The linker may have similar code, too.
> I agree that if they are distributing the license checking code then > it would appear they aren't violating the GPL.
It's a really short bit of source, too. Exec a child process with some arguments, see what it returns, maybe shut off some options.
On Mar 19, 10:01=A0pm, DJ Delorie <d...@delorie.com> wrote:
> Eric <englere_...@yahoo.com> writes: > > Do you know offhand which define symbol this is? > > It's in gcc/config/pic30/pic30.c. =A0Look for LICENSE_MANAGER. > > The linker may have similar code, too. > > > I agree that if they are distributing the license checking code then > > it would appear they aren't violating the GPL. > > It's a really short bit of source, too. =A0Exec a child process with > some arguments, see what it returns, maybe shut off some options.
I found it. This is not a problem at all. But what about the C32 compiler for the PIC32? I can't see anything like this there. The reason I'm asking is because I wanted to try out the PIC32 family but I can't afford the fee to buy the compiler, and a 64K limit is quite small for a 32 bit processor. If I can't have an unlimited compiler then I'll definitely pass on the PIC32 chip family. The AVR32 has an unrestricted free compiler. Eric
Eric <englere_geo@yahoo.com> writes:
> The reason I'm asking is because I wanted to try out the PIC32 family > but I can't afford the fee to buy the compiler, and a 64K limit is > quite small for a 32 bit processor.
A code-size limit is likely to be in the linker, not the compiler.