[riot-devel] Towards a software license change

Emmanuel Baccelli Emmanuel.Baccelli at inria.fr
Mon May 6 19:33:31 CEST 2013


Dear RIOT developers and users,

we are currently evaluating the advantages and drawbacks of various
software licenses for RIOT.

The goal is to favor maximum OS adoption (including industrial use), while
retaining the advantages of open source and community-based development.

After the long discussions we had on the subject (both with people outside
and inside the RIOT community, with potential industrial partners, with
simple users and with software license specialists) we reached the
conclusion that we should contemplate migrating towards LGPLv2. For details
on this license see
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/lgpl-2.1.en.html or
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Lesser_General_Public_License

In a nutshell, the main difference from GPLv3 (the current license for RIOT
code) are that:
- it would make it possible to link proprietary applications to the core
RIOT, without releasing the application source code,
- it would not contain patent-related text that many industry lawyers can't
deal with.

There are many examples of very successful community software projects that
use LGPLv2, including for instance VLC, GNU C Library, or Git, as well
as industrial products, such as for example Panasonic LCD HDTV.

We would like to know if there are strong arguments about relicensing RIOT
as LGPLv2.

If you have an opinion about this, positive or negative, please let us know
your arguments so that we can discuss this together, and make the right
decision together, as a community.

Cheers,

Emmanuel
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