Licensing projects using Freetronics components

The Dot Matrix Display (DMD) is a 32x16 array of high-brightness LEDs for visually striking effects. [Product Page]
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stryker
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Licensing projects using Freetronics components

Post by stryker » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:57 pm

Hi,

Sorry if this is covered elseswhere, and please do aim me at a URL if it is...

Have been asked what licence I'm using on a project that includes a DMD, and therefore the Freetronics library. I was going to use CC BY-SA based on it seeming very much like my intent, and I see other OSHW guys using it on their boards and this project includes a custom PCB (and I have the correct logo available in EagleCAD).

Is CC BY-SA compatible with the GNU GPL the Freetronics libraries are published under? My biggest concern is the hardware project in which these will be used will be charged for, so do we need to somehow state that the firmware is free (and licensed per GPL) but the fee is for the hardware which is CC BY-SA?

I feel I might be over-complicating this since lots of companies sell OSHW with GPL firmware, including Freetronics.

Thanks for any advice you can offer,
Geoff

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Re: Licensing projects using Freetronics components

Post by angusgr » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:42 am

Hi stryker,

The license for the hardware and the software are separate - when you link a GPL software library with another piece of software you produce a "derived work" that must released as GPL, but the hardware isn't a derived work of the software so you can license it however you like, totally separately. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to buy computers with Linux preloaded on them!

If you're selling your hardware with the firmware loaded on it, you just need to make sure the firmware itself is licensed GPL and the source is available. Is that a problem from the software side? (If so drop us an email, support@freetronics.com, and we'll see if we can work something out.)

Angus

PS Please make sure to post and let us know when your hardware is available! Sounds very interesting.

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stryker
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Re: Licensing projects using Freetronics components

Post by stryker » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:33 am

Thanks Angus I expected that might be the case. Great to have it confirmed. The project will be entirely open and published on GitHub so we will conform.

Thanks, Geoff

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