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#1 2013-03-23 10:03:20

cdwijs
Member
Registered: 2010-04-24
Posts: 162

[solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?

Hi All,

I want to create a opentherm gateway, so a normal PC can talk to several opentherm thermostats. I would like to release the firmware of the microcontroller, and also release the kicad files of he PCB.
What is the best license to give the firmware? GPL2, GPL, or something different? What is the best license for the PCB files? Creative common, GPL2/3?

I would like everybody to be able to use and adjust the files, but they must publish the changes.

Best regards,
Cedric

Last edited by cdwijs (2013-03-23 19:42:47)

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#2 2013-03-23 10:14:00

progandy
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Registered: 2012-05-17
Posts: 2,151

Re: [solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?

I would like everybody to be able to use and adjust the files, but they must publish the changes.

Who will be able to get the changed code? The users of the modified program, the users and upstream or everyone?
How do you want to sell it? Does the user have to pay for the program or only distribution costs or ...
That all affects your choices.
Try to find one here: http://opensource.org/licenses/category

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#3 2013-03-23 11:28:26

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 13,830
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Re: [solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?

cdwijs wrote:

... but they must publish the changes.

Really? I don't think this is a requirement of any license I'm familiar with.  GPL, and most open source licenses allow the user to redistribute under certain conditions - they don't require that they publish changes.

And what do you mean by publish?  Does every user who tweaks the code for their own use have to maintain a website indefinitely?

EDIT: in hindsight I probably missread the intent of that statement.  If they distribute modified binaries, many licenses require that the do make the code available too.  But no license requires that they distribute their modified tools.

Last edited by Trilby (2013-03-23 12:13:14)


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#4 2013-03-23 11:54:22

jakobcreutzfeldt
Member
Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

Re: [solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?

GPL et al only require source code changes to be published in the event that someone distributes a modified binary.

Also, perhaps this is of interest to you?
https://gnu.org/software/remotecontrol/

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#5 2013-03-23 12:48:23

cdwijs
Member
Registered: 2010-04-24
Posts: 162

Re: [solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?

jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:

GPL et al only require source code changes to be published in the event that someone distributes a modified binary.

Also, perhaps this is of interest to you?
https://gnu.org/software/remotecontrol/

Thanks, I should indeed have mentioned the distribution part. This is my first project I'm planning to do open source, so I never had to deal with a license before.
I guess GPL 3 will work, I have no problem if anybody burns my code in a microcontroller, and sells it. As long as that person publishes their code I'm happy.

Will GPL3 also work on the kicad files?

Opentherm does not work over IP, instead it uses a serial protocol. Manchester encoded, and 4 bytes per message. I don't see how remotecontrol can be made to talk to it.
The protocol seems to be under NDA, but a google search to "opentherm protocol" does yield a PDF with all the information

Somebody else has already made an opentherm gateway, but I need to talk to 7 thermostats, instead of one.
http://tclcode.com/opentherm/index.html#intro

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#6 2013-03-23 15:25:04

ewaller
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From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,975

Re: [solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?


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#7 2013-03-23 19:42:27

cdwijs
Member
Registered: 2010-04-24
Posts: 162

Re: [solved]Open source hardware / firmware, what license to pick?

Arduino uses Creative Commons license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 for the hardware, GPL for the development software, and LGPL for the code in the microcontrollers.
As far as I can see, thses licenses also cover my needs.

Thanks for thinking with me,
Cedric

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