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AllLinuxDevices: Editor's Note: Freebies are Nice, Freedom is Nicer

Oct 04, 2000, 19:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

"...My curiosity was understandably aroused by a headline appearing on the EE Times website which read "QNX enters free software fray." For one, I'd just finished speaking to an embedded developer who'd chosen Linux over QNX because the last thing QNX's Neutrino is is Free Software. For another, the folks behind QNX have made no bones about what they consider a key distinction between their product and Linux: that pesky GPL. The QNX website touts this distinction:"

"Embedded system OEMs don't want to lose or compromise their IP simply because it has been mixed with GPL code. All core QNX components have clear IP ownership and enable OEMs to maintain the rights to their code investment."

"At the same time, using words like "synergy" and "popularity," QNX has made a few cautious overtures to getting its name in lights along with the rapidly-accelerating Linux by opening the source to some of its applications and libraries. In the past, subtle shifts in licensing have presaged bigger things to come: witness several iterations of the TrollTech licensing scheme where Qt was involved over on the desktop side, and Sun's drift from the "Community License" for StarOffice to a full-blown GPLing of their suite. The fact that QNX's eroding key technical distinction from Linux: its real-time capabilities, is rapidly becoming a non-issue, I thought, had possibly pushed the company over the edge."

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