Complying with licenses, trademarks, copyrights, and patents for software included with the SDK

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Revision as of 08:36, 11 May 2012 by Tfischer (Talk | contribs)

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The RidgeRun SDK license is available online. The SDK consists of many Open Source software packages. Each software package has its own license. In addition, most customers install TI's DVSDK or EZSDK, both of which are governed by a license. If you are a lawyer, read all the details of each license to properly understand what is required to comply with the licenses associated with the software packages commonly used in conjunction with the RidgeRun SDK.

If you are not a lawyer and want a non-legal overview of what is required, here is how I think about the licenses:

  • RidgeRun license - you need a license per product (SKU), no per-unit royalties, any number of development engineers can use the SDK.
  • Open Source licenses - make all the software source code available to anyone who gets a binary version of the code in your product. The RidgeRun SDK is organized to put the Open Source packages in the bootloader, kernel, and fs/apps directories so you your first pass effort to make the source code available is simply to create a tarball containing of those directories.
  • TI license - only use the software included with DVSDK or EZSDK on TI chips. There is lots and lots of additional restrictions (export, etc), but the main idea is the DVSDK or EZSDK is for use with TI chips.
  • u-boot extensions - if you add code to u-boot, you should assume it is governed by the same Open Source license as u-boot itself.
  • Linux extensions - if you add code to the Linux kernel, you should assume it is governed by the same Open Source license as Linux itself. There are others who feel differently, but my view is you gained a lot of advantage by using Linux so you should give back when you can.
  • Company proprietary applications - be careful how your code proprietary applications interact with Open Source code and you can keep your proprietary applications proprietary.

Some technology requires a license agreement to be purchased before the technology can be included in a product or before the logo indicating the product contains the technology can be used. As a rule of thumb, technology by open standard bodies like IETF do not require paid licenses. Technology developed by standard bodies that require a paid membership to participate typically require payment for use of the technology and/or technology logo.


Depending on the product you are developing, you will be using many technologies whose naming is covered by one or more trademarks. Examples include Linux, Secure Digital, HDMI, and USB.


You should assume all the software you are using is covered by copyright with the possible exception of your proprietary application software. You can claim copyright on your software, but are not required to do so.


The current U.S.A. approach to software patents is completely out of control. I have nothing sane I can add.