[LinuxBIOS] Can we provide BIOS service base on the Linux BIOS

ron minnich rminnich at gmail.com
Sat Jul 28 19:30:19 CEST 2007

On 7/28/07, Tsai Jonson <jonsontauoyuan at yahoo.com.tw> wrote:
> Dear Sir or Madam,
>     We are a small software company in Taiwan. As you may know we have many
> PC manufacturer and SoC Design comapny here. May we provide them the BIOS
> binary code base on the Linux BIOS?

You may provide a binary, but see further discussion below.

>     Surely we modify some code to fit our need of the SoC we had. Is there
> any legal issue we need to take care?

Yes, the GPL requires that if you provide your binary to  customer,
you have to offer that customer the source if they request it. The
customer is allowed to redistribute the source you provide them. That
is a requirement of the GPL. This same requirement governs
distribution of Linux.

>     Note: We spent 6 months to learn and boot up the Linux BIOS on our
> platform. Should we open our source code? And how can we protect our
> intellecture property if we need to open our source?

You should open your source code, in the same way that all the
companies that provide linux drivers open their source code. Plus, you
get a benefit: all those companies that already opened their LinuxBIOS
source code have contributed to your success; you will get free
maintenance from many people for your code; as we improve linuxbios,
we will improve your linuxbios-based code. You will benefit when you
open your code up. That's how open source works. You will gain much
more from opening your code than you lose.

Many companies have benefited in the last 7 years by opening up their code.

We have some members of the FSF watching this list, so they can
correct me if I am wrong on any points.

Thank you

Ron Minnich

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