One chip MSX copyrights

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Por slowerisbetter

Master (194)

Imagen del slowerisbetter

06-11-2011, 13:09

How does that work, the FPGA sources are taken for a large % from the opencores project , so those are open source and mixed with others.

The SCC+ cartridge sold from italy atm also contains the SCC code from 1chip for instance.

Can I release my own hardware using it if I would want to?

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Por RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

Imagen del RetroTechie

06-11-2011, 15:43

No party can lock down true open source code (not even original authors! they can change license but what was previously released as open source, remains available as such). This is the case for big chunks of 1chipMSX source like T80 code.

TMS9918 in FPGA was done earlier for other systems (dunno what versions exist, or exact license), so you're free to use that. AFAIK same goes for things like PSG and YM2413 code.

IIRC ESE Artists added V9938 extensions, depending on 9918 license that may fall under same license, or the license chosen by ESE Artists. The latter is NOT an open source one (it prohibits commercial applications without their approval), which makes it more a MS style 'shared source' license. IMO we should (as community) really ask those guys to re-license their code as true open source (to not get in the way of future MSX hw development).

Then there's various patches contributed by 3rd parties like KdL, and of course those 3rd parties would be free to release that code under any license they wish.

Por slowerisbetter

Master (194)

Imagen del slowerisbetter

06-11-2011, 17:32

Then there's various patches contributed by 3rd parties like KdL, and of course those 3rd parties would be free to release that code under any license they wish.

Shame there is no GPL in there Smile That would be easier. Anyone know what license Kdl is using ?

Por KdL

Paragon (1448)

Imagen del KdL

07-11-2011, 00:37

hi! I love MSX, it's the half part of my life, all my source code are free simply forever! Wink

Por slowerisbetter

Master (194)

Imagen del slowerisbetter

07-11-2011, 01:26

That's great to hear!!!

Por RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

Imagen del RetroTechie

07-11-2011, 04:20

All your code are belong to us! WinkLOL!

Indeed good to hear KdL! One request though: could you put that in writing? More specifically, if you release patches / 1chipMSX sources that includes additions by you, mark those additions with a statement that says you wrote it, and what's allowed?

For small fixes that may be unpractical (and result would likely stay under same license as original file), but in the case where you add files (or make very extensive changes), a few lines of 'legalese' @ start of the file would do it. Some suggestions:

  • GPL is a popular license, but requires that all code linked into 1 'executable' falls under same license. This is fine for a program in an OS with many 'independent' utilities, but may not work for a set of HDL models that are synthesized together into a single FPGA configuration.
  • The LGPL was created to get around this & allow linking of differently licensed parts into 1 'executable'.
  • Many people simply feel (L)GPL is too much legalese, or don't want to force users to distribute source with their applications. For that reason you have simple licenses like BSD / MIT-style, which basically say: do as you like (for example 'bury' inside product black boxes, add some 'secret sauce' of your own & don't distribute source of that, etc), as long as you mention somewhere in documentation that product uses code by author XYZ. For this reason, you'll see that BSD / MIT-style licenses are used often for hw projects (and text is nice 'n short too).
  • Sometimes a simple description of how something works, does the job. Where you produce such a document, I suggest you slap a statement onto it saying it's under Creative Commons (or similar) license.

If you want I can help you pick a suitable one.

Same request goes for others that contribute patches / extensions to 1chipMSX source... (yeah I hate this legal crap as much as the next guy, but hey we happen to live in a world where copyrights exist, commercial interests are often #1 priority, and lawyers are powerful Sad ).

Por FiXato

Scribe (1738)

Imagen del FiXato

07-11-2011, 04:53

A more extensive list of open source software licenses
Please keep in mind btw that open source doesn't necessarily have to mean 'free' in the sense of gratis/without payment.

As for Creative Commons for Software: The foundation does not recommend this...
We do not recommend it. Creative Commons licenses should not be used for software. We strongly encourage you to use one of the very good software licenses which are already available. We recommend considering licenses made available by the Free Software Foundation or listed at the Open Source Initiative. Unlike our licenses, which do not make mention of source or object code, these existing licenses were designed specifically for use with software. Furthermore, our licenses are not compatible with the GPL, the most frequently used free software license.

Note that the CC0 Public Domain Dedication is GPL-compatible and acceptable for software. For details, see the relevant CC0 FAQ entry.

Por slowerisbetter

Master (194)

Imagen del slowerisbetter

07-11-2011, 11:06

GPL would be a good choice even if it's viralness wouldn't apply to VHDL ; it will at least apply to your code.

Por RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

Imagen del RetroTechie

07-11-2011, 17:28

As for Creative Commons for Software: The foundation does not recommend this...
I wasn't suggesting that (documentation & software are not the same).

GPL would be a good choice even if it's viralness wouldn't apply to VHDL ; it will at least apply to your code.
No, perhaps it wouldn't! Look, GPL requires that if you give someone a binary (FPGA configuration file) based on GPL-licensed code, you also give user full source to that code, and user has all rights granted in GPL that you have.

With differently licensed parts, eg. one of which prohibits commercial exploitation, this breaks down. User can get source from you, but if that user then builds commercial product with that, selling that product would be fine according to GPL, but in violation of the parts that came with a license prohibiting commercial exploitation. Meaning: user would not have all rights that the GPL on your code just granted him. oO:( In essence that would be an attempt to re-license parts of the code that weren't yours, and you simply can't do that. In fact: distributing code that way, might be violating both the GPL on your own code and the license of other code.

Common way to put it is that this ESE Artists license is not GPL-compatible. To get around this you'd have to distribute parts separately, and have end-user turn it into a FPGA configuration file. That's, well... impractical to say the least. ;)LOL!

For normal software this works fine as you're only distributing 1 program, and source to that program, and it all falls under same license. For things like Linux distro's, there's code under many licenses included, but eg. BSD-style license has no problem if you link/include BSD-licensed stuff with other software. And included programs come as separate binaries, which makes these things a lot easier. One could say that virality of the GPL extends to the walls of a binary (which for software is fine), but for hardware designs those walls might include 3rd party things which are under different (possibly non GPL-compatible) license. And it's not in your power to re-license those 3rd party items.

Another example: suppose you publish VHDL code for an SCC mapper. I take that VHDL code & produce a schematic that follows the VHDL code's function, and publish that (=allowed btw). Another person writes VHDL exactly following that schematic, which happens to be the practically the same as VHDL you published. And publishes that under his own, different license (=again, allowed). There's no verbatim copying involved anywhere, so copyrights weren't violated.

So you see this stuff is hard, and that's why companies have lawyers to sort it out. And things which work fine for software, may not work at all for open design hardware. A VHDL model is a different beast than a snippet of C code. It's a different field of technology, and that's why things like licensing don't work the same way as for average open source game on your computer.

Por slowerisbetter

Master (194)

Imagen del slowerisbetter

07-11-2011, 19:05

You make a good point there my man, but I believe the fsf and opencores etc will most probably have figured this all out before right? I couldn't find it so I mailed them about this issue. Let's see what their advice is, as indeed, IF GPL works viral on hardware it would introduce a lot of weirdness.

Por multi

Expert (74)

Imagen del multi

07-11-2011, 20:20

IIRC ESE Artists added V9938 extensions, depending on 9918 license that may fall under same license, or the license chosen by ESE Artists. The latter is NOT an open source one (it prohibits commercial applications without their approval)

Copyright goes a lot further than just “the source code”. Remember copyrights are not intended for source code and programs, but for books and stories.

Example: I am writing a new story that I thought up myself, it's about a kid, who found out he’s a wizard. He goes to School with his friends who are also wizard pupil and fights the big bad wizard (of which no one dares to say the name). The kid is called Harry Potter and... (anyway you get the point). Now even though the whole story might be original and my own idea, the fact that I use the characters invented by another writer makes that my story is a copyright infringement!

How does this apply to the V9938 extensions? It’s true that the VHDL code written by ESE is written by them, but that VHDL code describes and talks about registers and data structures of the V9938 chip. Therefore the ESE code is a derived work!!! And as we might know from the GPL licenses, derived works fall under the copyright of the original work. Furthermore the Yamaha V9938 is partially compatible with the Texas Instruments TMS9918 so Yamaha might not even own the copyrights and just have made a derived work also.

Either way, under copyright law it is not allowed that you try to extend your rights beyond what is granted to you by the law. If you try to do so anyway, any rights you may have been given by the copyright law will be revoked! In other words, if ESE goes to court and claims to own all copyrights needed to restrict your use of the V9938 implementation, they are actually claiming to own the original copyrights of the Texas Instruments TMS9918. If they don’t, then they are trying to extend their copyright beyond what they law allows, and any rights they might have had will be void.

So if ESE claims that their V9938 VHDL code is not allowed to be used in a commercial product, the fact that their code is a derived work (= derives from register layouts & data structures of the V9938 and TMS9918) makes that they actually have NO rights under the copyright law at all.

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