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Question about open-source library license.
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Question about open-source library license.

by chris6906 on Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:00 am

Hi Sir or Madam,

I am writing to inquire about some open-source library license questions below for using Adafruit FT232H Breakout to develop a feature for our product,

1. As per the LICENSE statement for Adafruit_Blinka and Adafruit_CircuitPython_Bundle libraries etc. on the GitHub, they are licensed under the MIT License. (Thanks for your contribution.) That means we only need to include the copyright notice and the permission notice in copies or substantial portions of the Software without any license fee or open our source code, correct?
2. If we don't use the Adafruit FT232H Breakout, for example, build by ourselves, could we still able to use your libraries with the same conditions (I mean to include the copyright notice and the permission notice in copies or substantial portions of the Software without any license fee or open our source code)?
3. According to your Setup instruction in the CircuitPython Libraries on any Computer with FT232H page, to use Adafruit_Blinka has to install "libusb" and "pyftdi" as well. As I know, these two are licensed under the LGPL v2.1 and BSD License, but do you know whether they are also friendly like MIT License? Is it possible that we use them without any license fee or open our source code too?

Thanks.

chris6906
 
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Re: Question about open-source library license.

by chris6906 on Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:29 am

Hi,

Anyone can help me with this question?

Thanks.

chris6906
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:48 am

Re: Question about open-source library license.

by tannewt on Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:10 pm

I think license interpretations are better answered by a proper lawyer. Sorry!

tannewt
 
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Re: Question about open-source library license.

by chris6906 on Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:09 am

Thanks, tannewt.

chris6906
 
Posts: 7
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Re: Question about open-source library license.

by westfw on Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:42 am

I don't work for Adafruit, but I'll voice some "lay opinions." (semi-lay? I've had training on using OSSW in proprietary products!! (Note, though, that a lot of that training was "when in doubt, refer to the company legal team."))

1) (MIT License) - The MIT license is considered very permissive. If your software is proprietary, you should mention the library and the copyright holder in your documentation. See https://www.tawesoft.co.uk/kb/article/mit-license-faq

2) Changing the hardware should not change the terms of the MIT license for the software. Usually licenses that are "for our hardware only" will say so very explicitly (for examples, see most vendors' licensing terms for their more complex chip-oriented libraries.) You occasionally see things that people feel like they can not include in their own OSSW github pages because of the license. For example, the Arduino USB bootloaders require that you download LUFA separately.)

3) LGPL for PC-side software is also considered permissive. If you were to change the libusb code in your product for some reason, you would have to publish your changed libusb code, but that would be entirely separate (a run-time-loaded DLL) from your product. LGPL is pretty much designed for DLL-type use, and gets a bit ambiguous when used with static linking or deep embedded projects. And as Adafruit does, the usual instructions to users involve downloading the library separately (your product USES the library, but the library itself isn't PART OF your product.) (MANY, MANY linux shared libraries are licensed with LGPL.)

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Re: Question about open-source library license.

by chris6906 on Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:30 am

Thank you, westfw.

chris6906
 
Posts: 7
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