Electronics > Eagle

Eagle Free or is it ?

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mikeselectricstuff:

--- Quote from: Hero999 on February 06, 2011, 11:14:16 pm ---
--- Quote from: OhmEye on February 06, 2011, 10:02:54 pm ---I disagree with that, I don't see anything in the non-profit Eagle license that disallows giving away for free works produced with Eagle. The non-profit license simply doesn't allow commercial use, defined as making money. They even make a commercial exception for producing and using Gerber files for PCB production using the free version. http://www.cadsoftusa.com/freeware.htm

If somebody manufactures a product using the free version of Eagle for profit (other than simply generating gerber files) then they would be in violation of the license. If it's not for profit, then no problem.
--- End quote ---
No.

The GPL states that the creator gives permission for their work to be used commercially i.e. for profit which is incomparable with the terms of the free Eagle license which forbids commercial use.

--- End quote ---
Not sure I agree - the Eagle License  only covers what you do with it. Allowing others to use commercially is not your problem - it's the people doing the commercialising. If the people profiting are just using the Gerbers, then I can't see how Cadsoft can do anything about it - the licensee is not using it for commercial purposes and the people commerciallising are not using Eagle. In fact even if the people selling it take the Eagle file and just export a Gerber, that is actually explicitly allowed :

--- Quote ---What does "non-profit" mean?

The definition of non-profit is fairly simple and straightforward:

    * If you earn (or save) money by using the Freeware version of EAGLE Light, you have to register it.

This allows anybody who wishes to use EAGLE Light for their private hobby projects to do so. Also students can use this version for any educational projects. It is even ok to use this version in a commercial environment, as long as you just want to evaluate the program. As soon as you start using it for commercial projects, you will have to register it. As an exception to this, board manufacturers may use the Freeware Light Edition to generate production data (e.g. Gerber files) from board files they have received from EAGLE users.

--- End quote ---

EEVblog:

--- Quote from: OhmEye on February 06, 2011, 10:02:54 pm ---
--- Quote from: EEVblog on February 06, 2011, 08:50:00 pm ---From my point of view I see the free version of Eagle as actually being unsuitable for open source hardware as it is being predominately used and promoted for.
Why?, because ANYONE who manufacturers a product using the free version of eagle, even if the original designer "gave away" that design by making it open source is technically violating the terms and conditions and using the software illegally. I presume that also includes the Gerbers generated using the free version also.
--- End quote ---

I disagree with that, I don't see anything in the non-profit Eagle license that disallows giving away for free works produced with Eagle. The non-profit license simply doesn't allow commercial use, defined as making money. They even make a commercial exception for producing and using Gerber files for PCB production using the free version. http://www.cadsoftusa.com/freeware.htm

If somebody manufactures a product using the free version of Eagle for profit (other than simply generating gerber files) then they would be in violation of the license. If it's not for profit, then no problem.

Basically, regardless of who creates the Eagle files or what license they have, each person who uses Eagle has to be appropriately licensed for their own use. If you make any money with work done in Eagle, you need to buy a registration. Am I missing something here?

--- End quote ---

I didn't know about the gerber clause, but that is only for board houses, bu kits producers etc.

Consider this scenario:
A hobbyist uses the free version of Eagle to produce and Open Hardware product and they publish the details and gerbers. No problems.
Someone is then free to take those gerber files and sell a zillion units and make a zillion dollars, because THEY have not used Eagle, so have not violated anything.
The original author on the other hand, can they go and do the same thing? i.e. take those gerber files and make a zillion dollars? I don't think they can, because then it can be deemed that Eagle was used by them for "commercial purposes".

The whole is stupid.

Dave.

OhmEye:

--- Quote from: Hero999 on February 06, 2011, 11:14:16 pm ---
--- Quote from: OhmEye on February 06, 2011, 10:02:54 pm ---I disagree with that, I don't see anything in the non-profit Eagle license that disallows giving away for free works produced with Eagle. The non-profit license simply doesn't allow commercial use, defined as making money. They even make a commercial exception for producing and using Gerber files for PCB production using the free version. http://www.cadsoftusa.com/freeware.htm

If somebody manufactures a product using the free version of Eagle for profit (other than simply generating gerber files) then they would be in violation of the license. If it's not for profit, then no problem.
--- End quote ---
No.

The GPL states that the creator gives permission for their work to be used commercially i.e. for profit which is incomparable with the terms of the free Eagle license which forbids commercial use.

--- End quote ---

I'm certainly no lawyer, just a guy who uses this stuff like the rest of you! :)

I'm not sure where the GPL came into this. I think you are confusing the license of the tool with the license of the work. The GPL does not require you to use free tools to create GPL-licensed works. The license of the tool and the license of the produced work are completely different things. You can use proprietary tools to create open source code or hardware, or open tools to create proprietary work. As for the GPL specifically, you can use whatever tools you want, including non-free, to create work licensed under the GPL. http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.html#NonFreeTools Your use of work you create with your freeware version of Eagle is required to be non-commercial by the Eagle license, the work itself can be under any license you wish, including the GPL. If somebody takes a copy of your work and wants to use it for a commercial purpose with Eagle, their use of your work in Eagle requires them to license Eagle appropriately. They can choose to not use Eagle and use something else, it has nothing to do with the license of your work, it has to do with their use of Eagle. If you grant them license to make money with your work they are completely free to do so regardless of what tools they choose to use. They simply, as always, need to comply with the licensing of those tools whether they be free or not.

If you create work with Eagle and license it under the GPL, you are granting rights to your work only, your licensing isn't requiring anybody to use Eagle or any particular tool. If somebody wants to use your GPL-licensed work, it's entirely up to them if they want to use it in a commercial manner and to use any tools they choose and comply with the licensing of those tools as appropriate.

Examples of similar issues:

You can use GPL toolchains to produce proprietary code. (Use a GNU compiler to compile a commercial proprietary library or other binary.)
You can use proprietary tools to produce open work. (Use Microsoft Word to create and distribute an open document.)
The Linux kernel code itself was maintained in a non-open source management system. (Bitkeeper 2002-2005. And yes, it was controversial.)

If I'm wrong and there is any conflict between the GPL and Eagle licensing, I see it being on Eagle's side, not the GPL. However, Eagle's description of their freeware limitations is pretty straightforward to me, it doesn't intend at all to restrict licensing or distribution of work created with Eagle. Rather, it just requires that if you are going to work with Eagle for commercial use (even with some exceptions!) you need to buy a registration. I don't see that as conflicting at all with open source or open hardware, since it doesn't place any restrictions on how you license your work, it only requires your use to be non-commercial. It doesn't restrict any anybody else's use of your work to be non-commercial, they can buy a registration for Eagle or choose to use another tool.

mikeselectricstuff:


--- Quote from: EEVblog on February 06, 2011, 08:50:00 pm ---From
I didn't know about the gerber clause, but that is only for board houses, bu kits producers etc.

--- End quote ---
That may have been the intention but without a more specific definition it is open to pretty wide interpretation. If I design a board, get it made by a subcontractor and sell you one, maybe after I snap it out of a panel, I could entirely reasonably say I'm the board manufacturer, in the same way that a board house  may outsource parts of their process (and many do for artwork preparation). They don't make the FR4, but they would be regarded as a board manufacturer.   
It doesn't even restrict the definition to bare PCBs, so if you assemble the board, then you would certainly be a 'board manufacturer' where 'board' is an assembled PCB.

OhmEye:
There's nothing stopping the original author from making a zillion dollars with their own work, they just have to register Eagle. If they didn't want to work under the licensing restrictions of the tool, they should have chosen something else. Personally, I think the US$49 registration fee doesn't cut much into that zillion dollars. :) If they originally used the freeware license then changed their mind and wanted to profit, they just have to register, then get filthy rich!

The freeware license specifically only covers the use of Eagle. Their words (emphasis mine):
--- Quote ---If you earn (or save) money by using the Freeware version of EAGLE Light, you have to register it.
--- End quote ---

You can give away for free whatever you create, you only need to register Eagle if you make money. The Gerber exception is to allow anybody to use Eagle without registering to output files needed to use work created by somebody else.

I do agree that there's something wonky with the apparent loophole that a third party can take an open design produced with a freeware version of Eagle, then produce it commercially without any commercial Eagle license ever used for that work. It that the crux of the issue as you see it?

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