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'[PIC:] Microchip breaking the GPL? (was: dsPIC30F'
2003\12\10@152313 by Nate Duehr

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Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> Microchip has a new C compiler for these chips. It was decribed as
> 'GNU-based', yet uChip plans to sell the compiler for some $800. IMHO
> that is a contradiction, if the GNU license realy applies they will sell
> only one! Funny: the documentation for the compiler had the GNU open
> documentation license in an appendix, but the normal Microchip copyright
> at the first page, and no note that the GDL applies.

That is horrible - and not funny at all.  Please let the GNU folks know
as soon as you can since you've actually seen this personally, so they
can contact Mchip.  Both the "GNU-based" comments and the obvious
confusion about the documentation licensing show that there's something
else (probably very inappropriate) afoot at Mchip.

Licenses are EASY enough for ME to read, Mchip has a whole pile of
engineers, lawyers, and managers who could easily take the time to read
them too.  It's a very bad sign that they're becoming very lazy and
complacent if they're not even reading the software licenses or
documentation licenses of the software they're planning to sell as a
product for their own gain.

Nate, spam_OUTnateTakeThisOuTspamnatetech.com

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2003\12\10@154848 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> That is horrible - and not funny at all.  Please let the GNU
> folks know
> as soon as you can since you've actually seen this personally, so they
> can contact Mchip.  Both the "GNU-based" comments and the obvious
> confusion about the documentation licensing show that there's
> something
> else (probably very inappropriate) afoot at Mchip.

But note that this was preliminary stuff, so give them a break. AFAIK
the GNU license does not prohibit using GNU stuff within your company in
any way, it is when you provide it to others that it takes effect. If
anyone actually buys or gets a manual that still conatains inappropriate
copyrights it is time for action.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\10@155758 by Bob Blick

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Nate Duehr said:

> That is horrible - and not funny at all.  Please let the GNU folks know
> as soon as you can since you've actually seen this personally, so they
> can contact Mchip.  Both the "GNU-based" comments and the obvious
> confusion about the documentation licensing show that there's something
> else (probably very inappropriate) afoot at Mchip.
>

There's nothing wrong with them charging for it. Also, if the compiler
stays unmodified and source is included, they can have their closed-source
tools call the compiler.

Chances are they'll have to add something to the compiler, and they should
include the source, so that's nice, isn't it?

Cheers,

Bob

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2003\12\10@161325 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Chances are they'll have to add something to the compiler,
> and they should
> include the source, so that's nice, isn't it?

I bet the $$ for the compiler is a mistake from some pointy-haired
manager. I downloaded the GCC language tools from
www.microchip.com/1010/pline/tools/picmicro/devenv/mplabi/mplab6/
10176/index.htm and that surely looks like a complete GCC source to me.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\10@172044 by Mike Harrison

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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 13:22:06 -0700, you wrote:

>Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>
>> Microchip has a new C compiler for these chips. It was decribed as
>> 'GNU-based', yet uChip plans to sell the compiler for some $800. IMHO
>> that is a contradiction, if the GNU license realy applies they will sell
>> only one! Funny: the documentation for the compiler had the GNU open
>> documentation license in an appendix, but the normal Microchip copyright
>> at the first page, and no note that the GDL applies.

Maybe they are using a GNU compiler, but a Microchip proprietory code-generator/optimiser.

One of these days a microcontroller maker will figure out that they might sell a lot more chips if
they had a free or really cheap C compiler.
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2003\12\10@174323 by harshit suri

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I absolutely agree.
I worked for a FPGA Design firm
and one lesson we learnt is that if u provide free
tools , especially to students, not only do u capture
market but u also improve your product through
feedback.

--- Mike Harrison <.....mikeKILLspamspam@spam@WHITEWING.CO.UK> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

details.


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2003\12\10@213637 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 10:15 PM 12/10/2003 +0000, you wrote:
>On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 13:22:06 -0700, you wrote:
>
> >Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> >
> >> Microchip has a new C compiler for these chips. It was decribed as
> >> 'GNU-based', yet uChip plans to sell the compiler for some $800. IMHO
> >> that is a contradiction, if the GNU license realy applies they will sell
> >> only one! Funny: the documentation for the compiler had the GNU open
> >> documentation license in an appendix, but the normal Microchip copyright
> >> at the first page, and no note that the GDL applies.
>
>Maybe they are using a GNU compiler, but a Microchip proprietory
>code-generator/optimiser.
>
>One of these days a microcontroller maker will figure out that they might
>sell a lot more chips if
>they had a free or really cheap C compiler.

In the early days they used to charge more in real dollars for assemblers
than compilers cost today.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2003\12\11@023055 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Maybe they are using a GNU compiler, but a Microchip
> proprietory code-generator/optimiser.

That is difficukt to do without being forced to release the prorietary
code under GPL.

> One of these days a microcontroller maker will figure out
> that they might sell a lot more chips if
> they had a free or really cheap C compiler.

I think that is just what is going on.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\11@033638 by Russell McMahon

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> > One of these days a microcontroller maker will figure out
> > that they might sell a lot more chips if
> > they had a free or really cheap C compiler.

Zilog do this now.
ANSI C with each subsidised $US50 development system. They actually pay a
fee to the developer for each compiler registered.

   Russell McMahon

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2003\12\11@084244 by Rafael Vidal Aroca

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       By the way, does anyone know a gpl compiler for pics? I already searched a lot for it, but never found anything.
       I just know sdcc but it's still not "usable".

[]s Rafael.


On Thu, 11 Dec 2003, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2003\12\11@090606 by Wouter van Ooijen

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>         By the way, does anyone know a gpl compiler for pics?

Jal, but that's a compiler for Jal, not for C.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\11@144230 by Peter L. Peres

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> But note that this was preliminary stuff, so give them a break. AFAIK
> the GNU license does not prohibit using GNU stuff within your company in
> any way, it is when you provide it to others that it takes effect. If

You must carefully define GNU stuff. Binary code compiled or produced
using GNU language building tools (such as by gcc and ld but not bison) is
explicitly exempt from the GPL, its source need not be published, and you
are the sole owner of it, and you can sell it etc. However libraries you
link against may not be (see bison for an example). Stuff you write using
GNU tools is not GNU stuff, it is yours, just like a text written by you
and formatted by groff or tex is yours, not GNU's. Imho you are missing a
whole dimension of the freedom GNU tools are really giving you. Read the
LGPL version 2 or later carefully, it is explicit about these things. Of
course it would be nice if you would publish your creations using the GPL,
with source. But you do not have to.

Peter

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2003\12\11@145645 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> You must carefully define GNU stuff.

I am fully aware of the intricacies of GPL and LGPL. I was talking about
two things:

1- The C30 compiler is described as 'GNU based'. That definitely sounds
as 'containing GNU code', not as 'compiled by a GNU compiler'. Nobody
knows (or cares) what compiler is used to create the Jal, HiTech, CCS or
whatever other compiler (except in some rare cases where there are
royalties (or an LGPL!) attached to the run-rime libraries). So it is a
bit strange that uChip asks $$ for the compiler. But they do seem to
provide the sources for the compiler on their website, so they are fully
within the GPL.

2- I saw a Microchip C30 book with the GFDL (gnu free documentation
license) in an appendix, but not statement in the book that this license
actually applied. This is of course strange, and it would be illegal if
the content was based on GFDL stuff *and* that book was sold and/or
given to the outside world. I honestly don't think an almost in-company
introduction day counts as such. It was probably just an unfinished
book.

So I have not said that Microchip is voilation a GPL, LGPL or GFDL
license, just that I saw some things that were funny.

The interesting news is that C30 seems to be GCC-based, so it will
probably be better than C18, and (whether Microchip likes it or not) be
available for free. And that is good news for the acceptance of the
dsPIC in the hobby / small-scale professional circuit, and that it good
news for me, because that is where I sell most of my PICs.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\11@150440 by Peter L. Peres

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> Microchip has a new C compiler for these chips. It was decribed as
> 'GNU-based', yet uChip plans to sell the compiler for some $800.

The GPL does not force anybody NOT to sell products based on it (when used
in the spirit of the license) for money, it only has specific rules wrt
the software itself. For example you can write code that compiles using
GNU gcc, link it against GNU libraries which are licensed with the LGPL
version 2 or later AND keep the source closed AND sell the binary for as
much as you dare. This is totally legal. It is not legal to sell a
modified copy of the gcc without publishing the source of the
modifications, and similar applies to the GNU libraries. But if they wrote
their own compiler (without using gnu sources at all - beware gnu
yacc/bison has a restrictive license on its parser implementation - it is
written by rms) and compiled it with gnu tools then it's legal and it's
theirs, and they keep the sources, and charge as much as they like for it.

Peter

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2003\12\11@155718 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> The GPL does not force anybody NOT to sell products based on
> it (when used in the spirit of the license) for money,

Can you listen (or rather: read): GNU-based IMHO can only main
'containing GCC parts', so the GPL applies. So if they provide that
compiler to anyone outside their company (for $$ or for free) they
*have* to provide (access to) the sources to that person, *and* those
sources will by covered by GPL. The fact that Microchip *does* provide
the sources for free downloading strongly supports this (and it shows
that at least someone up there fully understands the consequences). The
only funny thing is that some (other?) bloke up there seems to think
that charging $800 or so for it will work.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\12\12@003550 by steve

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> The fact that Microchip *does* provide
> the sources for free downloading strongly supports this (and it shows
> that at least someone up there fully understands the consequences).
> The only funny thing is that some (other?) bloke up there seems to
> think that charging $800 or so for it will work.

It looks to me like it's the other bloke who's the smart one.
Spend $800 and get it prebuilt and with support or download the free
version and build it yourself without any strings for Microchip. They get it
to the hobbiest/small developer/student and into the companies where
$800 is nothing. It's the perfect setup for them.

Steve.

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2003\12\12@040917 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> It looks to me like it's the other bloke who's the smart one.
> Spend $800 and get it prebuilt and with support or download the free
> version and build it yourself without any strings for
> Microchip. They get it
> to the hobbiest/small developer/student and into the companies where
> $800 is nothing. It's the perfect setup for them.

Only if the sales of the $$ version compensate the cost of setting up
the sales channel, which I doubt. But maybe you are right, and in any
case we (including uChip) all win.

Wouter van Ooijen

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