Raspberry Pi Bootloader License Precludes it to Run on Competing Broadcom BCM283x Boards

Yesterday I wrote about ArduCAM Raspberry Pi compatible module, that packs most of the features of Raspberry Pi Zero or Pi Compute module into a 24x24mm board, and is based on Broadcom BCM2835 processor. One person also started a thread on Raspberry Pi forums about the tiny module, and one of the Raspberry Pi engineer and forum moderator replied that will would breach the bootloader license. The important part is the sentence highlighted above: This software may only be used for the purpose of developing for, running or using a Raspberry Pi device. ArduCAM module is only Raspberry Pi compatible, so it would indeed breach the license, and you can get into troubles if you planned to use that module in a commercial project, especially in countries where IP protection is taking seriously. This raises a few questions. First why did the Raspberry Pi foundation chose that restrictive license? The obvious answer would be to protect there investment, but it’s …

Open Source Licenses Overview: GPL, LGPL, Apache, BSD,…

The great thing about open source code is the large amount of high quality code that is available and many embedded projects use FOSS code as it really speeds up development time. What is not often taken into account are the licenses for the code. Many companies often simply ignore licenses issues and some even go one step further by obfuscating the code to work around dual license issues or to hide the use of a particular open source library. Even though history shows that few companies get sued due to open source license infringements and release of open source code modified in commercial projects often requires the community involvement, open source licenses should still be taken into consideration as the risk still exists. I’ll give an overview of open source licenses in this blog post, as well as recommendation on how to keep your proprietary code closed. Definition of free software All software that are under a free software …