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LinuxDevices: RTAI goes (Partly) GPL

Mar 26, 2002, 13:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rick Lehrbaum, Kevin Dankwardt)

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"In response to worries about the possibility of patent-infringement lawsuits arising from the granting of a patent covering certain techniques used in RTLinux, the open source license covering portions of RTAI (a competing real-time extension to Linux) has recently been changed from LGPL to GPL. The change in license status of certain of RTAI's components was quietly phased in as part of the RTAI-24.1.8 release.

"Based on the change in license, the RTAI team now believes that the new partly-GPL RTAI is covered by the terms of Version 2 of the Open RTLinux Patent License , which says: 'The Patented Process may be used, without any payment of a royalty, with two types of software.' Specifically, the partly-GPL version of RTAI would appear to fall within the first type described in the patent license. A statement from Free Software Foundation counsel Eben Moglen apparently supports that position.

"However, while the change in the license status of portions of RTAI hopefully eliminates the possibility that all RTAI users might be required to purchase a license to use the RTLinux patent, it introduces a new concern, based on what is sometimes referred to as the "viral effect" of GPL. Namely: Does the change in license of portions of RTAI, from LGPL to GPL, require that the source code of proprietary applications based on RTAI be made available to those who request it?..."

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