Sponsorship & donations
Since September 2013, when a time tracking solution was put in place, the GNU MCU Eclipse project accounted more than 3.500 development hours (including more than 800h for QEMU), with the bulk of them being advanced by a single private person (the author).
In a similar effort, more than 3.400 hours were accounted for the syster projects µOS++ (~2.900h) and xPack (~500h).
Out of these, only the following were covered by commercial contracts:
- 400h by Infineon, for integrating the J-Link Debugging plug-in in DAVE and further developing the peripheral registers view
None of the other companies using the GNU MCU Eclipse plug-ins in their development tools considered supporting the development.
The current (April 2017) financial status is a steady red -6.500h.
The situation is obviously not sustainable on long term, and, in order for the project to grow, further support is expected, especially from Commercial Contributors (see the license page for details).
Sponsorship is also welcome. Sponsorship may be general (like for the entire project) or specific (for certain subprojects, like QEMU, µOS++, xPack, etc), but generally is ‘no questions asked’, and do not impose conditions on the way new features are implemented.
For a sustainable project development, Commercial Contributors are welcomed to share part of the development costs by means of commercial contracts (for maintenance, integration support or developing new features) and/or by sponsorships/donations (generally compensating for pre-exisiting work included in their derivative work).
The opportunity of releasing future versions under dual license was considered, with the Eclipse Public License for all Recipients excluding subsequent Commercial Contributors, and a commercial license, where the license fee will no longer be waived; however no date was set yet for such a license change.
License financial consequences?
The GNU MCU Eclipse end-users are generally software developers; for them the license means two things:
- it guarantees they can use the plug-ins for free, to develop any type of applications they want, private or commercial, without any limitations;
- the plug-ins are provided on an as is basis, without warrantees or conditions of any kind.
For Commercial Contributors
Commercial Contributors are subsequent for-profit contributors who include the GNU MCU Eclipse plug-ins in their derivative work, generally development environments/tools, and provide them to third parties (either for-profit or for-free).
If only the binary versions of the original plug-ins are repacked in the derivative work, then the only requirement is to preserve the copyright notice and publish it together with all other copyright notices.
An example of such a notice is:
XYZ Design Studio includes features from GNU MCU Eclipse, Copyright © 2009 Liviu Ionescu.
Source file changes
If the derived work implies any change in the source code, or in the procedures used to build the program, in addition to preserving the copyright notice, the modified source files or procedures must also be made public.
Strictly speaking, the Eclipse Public License does not mandate the Commercial Contributor to pay any license fee.
Well… if you plan to never contact us (for support or anything else), as long as you respect the license terms, you are free to use the binaries or derive work from the sources, and we’ll do nothing to prevent you from doing so.
Whether this is fair or not, is highly debatable (we consider it greatly unfair).
However, if you plan to contact us for any reason, please take note that having the quality of project sponsor/donor will grant you higher priority in processing requests and possibly better rates for commercial contracts.
In other words, consider the sponsorship scheme as a warranty that you’ll not have to pay license fees for future versions.
In addition to becoming sponsors/donors, Commercial Contributors can also support the GNU MCU Eclipse project by paying commercial contracts to develop new features and releasing the results with the same Eclipse Public License.
General purpose features will have higher priority than vendor specific features, and might also benefit from better rates.
Some credit for supporting the development of new features in GNU MCU Eclipse project goes to (in chronological order):
- Infineon Technologies AG
- Analog Devices GmbH
- Dialog Semiconductor BV
- SiFive Inc
Companies interested in supporting the GNU MCU Eclipse project and seeing their logo in the project web, can apply for various levels of sponsorship.
To simplify things, the unit of sponsorship is set at 100 development hours.
Generous sponsors that contribute at least 3 sponsorship units (300 hours) will be awarded the status of Gold Sponsors, and their logo will be shown on the project home page.
Apart from sponsors, any other financial contribution to the project is gladly accepted as a donation.
If you want to help the development efforts of this project, please use the PayPal Donate button available in the bottom of the page.
From the legal point of view, the donation goes to a small company called Aviation Instruments Intl SRL, which is the legal entity used to handle, among other things, the GNU MCU Eclipse project.
Many thanks to the following donors (in chronological order):
- Rolf Segger, Germany
- Erich Styger, Switzerland
- Alan Adamson, USA
- Vidar Berg, Norway
- Danilo Bessone, Italy
- Stern Technologies, USA
- Robin Clark, UK
- Alain Mosnier, Sweden
- Philip Gruebele, USA
- Lieven Merckx, Belgium
- Brinton Engineering, USA
- Armin van der Togt, Holland
- Kamil Rogozinski, Australia
- Bjørn Forsman, Norway
- Seth Johnson, USA