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12436 Discussions

Cyclone IV with PCIe transceiver and Linux GPL license

RShie
Novice
1,176 Views

Using Cyclone IV GX in PCIe express slot of motherboard running Linux.

 

Obviously our hardware design is our hardware design.

 

However do we still have to release our 'out of tree' kernel module source code to the world under the GPL license?

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4 Replies
JosephC_Intel
Moderator
287 Views

Hi,

 

There is a generic FAQ posted and please refer it if this can answer your question:

https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html

 

This is a general Linux licensing inquiry and not really Intel FPGA related topics. At this point, we would like to suggest you refer back to the source where you get the kernel source tree.

 

As what you've mentioned in the descriptions, these specific code will only works on your design after adding in the out of tree code. But yet, when it come to production & release, it should have GPL compliance.

 

We would like to suggest you to handle this in detail and please work with yours company LEGAL at all time.

 

Thanks,

Joseph

Intel Customer Support

RShie
Novice
287 Views

The answer to this is yes if you add a kernel module you need to release your code. Embedded FPGA SoC developers using Linux beware (as well as PCI express FPGA Linux developers).

 

Here is a good guide for how to comply.

 

https://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2008/compliance-guide.html

 

This applies to ANY flavor of Linux. The GPL license for the Kernel stays the same no matter what.

 

One way around this is to use a binary blob (as many Android device developers do).

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_blob

 

However a kernel module built against a compiled kernel will always be under the GPL (i.e. you have to open source your code for that kernel module).

 

 

 

 

JosephC_Intel
Moderator
287 Views

Hi RShie,

 

We appreciate your reply and also the concerned. We only in-charging for Intel PSG (Altera) code perspective. For what you've concerned, this is totally out of our control and responsible.

 

There is no guidance on how to comply with official/standard guidance, but definitely, we will responsible for our internal part of it. Those in charge with 3rd party, I still recommend you to go back to yours legal on this.

 

I hope you can understand this.

 

Thanks,

Joseph

Intel Customer Support

RShie
Novice
287 Views

We have been through the legal route. The advice was to develop user space drivers (see UIO for Linux).

 

I asked the question here because every FPGA Linux driver will be bespoke. I just wanted to see if anyone here could give me some pointers.

 

I could not agree more that if you a developing embedded or IoT Linux products you should seek professional legal advice with respect to the GPL license.

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