Philipp Deppenwiese wrote:
There is already an easy solution. Just tell your customers that you will make the coreboot implementation open source (hw init). They can load their own proprietary stuff afterwards as payload (binary) without having issues with the GPLv2. Sure if they use SeaBIOS it's a problem (GPLv3) but there are tons of payloads out there.
Our customers will never load their own payload. Our systems always boot to our own OS, which manages the measurement hardware and data processing side of the customer application. Our customers send relatively simple scripts to our systems that tell them how to manage the real-time, control, and signal processing portions of the application, while they typically have a relatively complex application-specific human interface application that runs on the host OS, typically operating under Windows, but sometimes operating under Linux (these few customers operating under Linux, obviously, will not have any trouble with GPL). Most customers want our system to “just work”. They send our system a PID() command, say, and it runs a PID loop for them until they tell it to stop. They do not dig down into the boot process or load a different OS.
coreboot makes things cost effective because we are all working together on the platform support. Another good reason for not reinventing the wheel again :)
Even Siemens uses coreboot + SeaBIOS -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tq4xSipCWEU without having the "fear" of licensing issues. Sure they are not selling it to end users.
On a quick look at the Siemens website for this product, this definitely looks like a good example of a product that matches what we do quite well, though I suspect they aim at much bigger customers than we do. With a few minutes spent looking, it is not at all clear to me how Siemens handles their GPL responsibility and whether they attempt to provide compliance for their customers or not.
If you want to make it easy for them. Upstream open source as much as possible. If it is already there people will stop asking your customers for the source code! Also if they use a custom payload without GPL code they don't need to open source it!
We will definitely push any changes we make back to Coreboot or SeaBIOS to accept or reject.
Best Regards, Ian