Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Open forum about everything concerning the ChibiOS commercial options. This forum is NOT for support.
colin
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Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby colin » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:27 pm

Hi Giovanni,

I was personally saddened to read that the ChibiOS licensing has changed (from GPL+exception to straight GPLv3) and now requires registration for any commercial use (closed source), and then has limits on number of units produced unless a license is purchased.

Just knowing that I can't take my hobby project to market without paying for an RTOS license will incline me to other options, e.g. free-of-change vendor RTOS like TI RTOS or Freescale MQX-lite or something... I don't expect my opinion to change anything, but I love the clean design of ChibiOS and it makes me sad to see it become more restricted for experimenters/hackers with occasional but uncertain commercial aspirations like me.

Of course you, as the author, are free to choose whatever license you wish, and I understand your goals and that your time is valuable. But the fact is that it makes ChibiOS less attractive to me. I appreciate the effort you have put in, and continue to put into, ChibiOS over the years, and I hope you do get fairly compensated for your great software -- you deserve it. But I had to share how the license change has personally muted my excitement about ChibiOS. The old scheme allowed RTOS user who wanted the assurance of paid support to have it, but also allowed the little guys who wanted to live without a net (i.e. no dedicated support) to dabble in the world of commercial products.

Regards,
Colin

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Giovanni
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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby Giovanni » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:44 pm

Hi,

You got it wrong I think, the limit is 500 cores per license, after that you can ask another license for 500 more cores and so on.

It is not meant to limit deployment, it is meant to encourage chibios use disclosure.

Actually, you now are free of GPL, not just the linking exception.

Giovanni

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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby tecnologic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:46 am

Hi Giovanni,

i'am in the same situation as colin, but for me its much more time to a real product, but i want to keep it closed source an use Chibios. Currently i only used the HAL due to Apache licence.

How is the best practice to develop a closed source product using chibios as a hobbist with the end goal of selling small units in the end.

regards

Tec

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Giovanni
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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby Giovanni » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:09 am

Hi,

Just use the GPL version during development, when you are ready for deployment then request a free commercial license and you are good for 500 units, then you can request as many batches of 500 licenses as you need.

Requesting a new batch is also the procedure required for upgrades, for example if you need to go from 3.0.0 to 3.1.0 you need to request a new batch.

The only obligation is to mention ChibiOS in your product page/documentation and put a link to http://www.chibios.org. We use the registration info only for statistics and, eventually, to link you back from a "happy users" page (we don't have that yet). Personal information are not shared with anybody.

Basically the free commercial license is paid by advertisement and you get a GPL-free product.

Giovanni

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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby tecnologic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:50 am

Thanks thats good. than i'll add the rt kernel to my project :)

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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby steved » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:55 pm

I can see its pretty difficult to achieve a licensing model that suits everybody! FWIW, my own feedback.
We produce low-volume embedded systems; probably a few hundred CPUs a year in total, across several different platforms. We currently have Chibi-based projects in development on three different ST families. There's no particular problem with using the Free Commercial model, although I'd be happier in some ways with a paid for licence. But that doesn't look very realistic - if I've read the price list right, we'd need a 'Global Developer' licence - suddenly a very substantial cost for a small company. (In fact, the module pricing structure is such that I can't see how a Global licence can ever be more expensive than licensing just the modules you need).
And with the Free Commercial licence, there's potential for an interesting discussion of what constitutes a 'Product' - we mix and match a lot, so we have boxes that look the same on the outside, but have different hardware on the inside, and boxes that look different on the outside but have the same hardware on the inside...

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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby Giovanni » Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:16 pm

Hi,

The (not many) ChibiOS customers are companies ranging from big to huge, with few exceptions.

After the "Free License" there is the "Developers License", up to 5000 cores and the few restrictions lifted (code is modifiable basically).

Small companies releasing few hundreds of cores per year should be perfectly fine with the free option and we are perfectly fine with that. The idea is to acquire bragging rights :) thanks to people using and advertising ChibiOS. We are not going to verify anything like number of cores, variants of a product or similar details, the only point we care about is to be mentioned and be associated to an actual product.

Don't let the commercial thing scare you, basically nothing changed compared to the GPL+exception.

Giovanni

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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby Giovanni » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:31 pm

Hi,

News about this.

Probably releases GPL+Exceptions will appear again in near future but with some changes.

1) It will contain features-reduced versions of RT and NIL. Features will be sufficient to support HAL and include common RTOS elements.
2) Will require no registration.
3) Release cycle will not be continuous, when I think that a version is stable enough I will create a GPL+E release from that. Not because evilness but chconf.h files into demos have to be edited or demos would not compile with restrictions...

Rationale for the decision is: Regardless how much it is explained that the free commercial version is granted in association to an actual product there is people that continues to submit incomplete forms that get rejected. Probably it is caused by issue with language in some cases or simply unwillingness to comply but there is still a need to be addressed. You wouldn't believe what I have seen in the field "Product Page URL" :)

Having another option will make easier to me to leave unanswered incomplete requests. In addition, "Free Commercial" will receive another bonus for registered users.

Giovanni

dalbert
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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby dalbert » Mon May 23, 2016 8:47 pm

Hi Giovanni, I am developing a product (IP gateway for agricultural telemetry); I really like ChibiOS; I selected it over FreeRTOS and designed the product using ChibiOS 2.6.7 prior to your commercial licensing. The move to a commercial license is a little bracing, but I understand the need to fund your enterprise and profit from your labor. I also appreciate that you have left many options available for smaller users like me, so a few suggestions:

1) I encourage you to publish your commercial pricing. I suspect a large majority of engineers considering options for a new RTOS for their product will just skip Chibi if it is a commercial product of unknown price and changing business model. FreeRTOS is well known and will become the obvious choice.

2) The registration process asks you to agree to the license terms, but I could not find a published license; this will also be a show-stopper for serious companies considering a paid RTOS. I looked but couldn't find a written license; I assume it should be here: http://wiki.chibios.org/dokuwiki/doku.p ... os:license

3) The Contact page from the ChibiOS website doesn't work (the submit fails with an SMTP error)

4) The advertising requirement is a great idea; I've added a "Powered by ChibiOS/RT" with link to the website already.

Would you please send me pricing information and the license terms?

Thanks and regards,
Dave

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Re: Sad to see more restricted commercial use

Postby RoccoMarco » Mon May 23, 2016 8:54 pm

About point 3 I will check it as soon my ISP decides to restore my internet connection. :evil:
By the way thanks for this report.
Ciao,
RM


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